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5th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth

Bucharest, 27-29 April 1998 - Final Declaration

Young people: active citizens in a future Europe
Human Rights - Participation - Solidarity
Final Declaration


We, the European Ministers responsible for Youth, meeting in Bucharest on 27, 28 and 29 April 1998 for our 5th Council of Europe Conference

Convinced that building a democratic and interdependent Europe depends on the participation of all its young people

Believing in the strengths of young people but also aware of the challenges and difficulties young people face in finding their place in a changing society and of the challenge they face in implementing in a new way, on the eve of the XXIth century, a Europe based on the values of the Council of Europe and a strengthening of solidarities

Convinced that creating conditions favourable to participation and to the exercise of active citizenship by young people depends on recognising the abilities they acquire in daily life from formal and informal education, initial and further education

Encouraged by the emergence and development of initiatives at European, national, regional and local level, designed to create the environment needed for true youth participation

Respecting the Council of Europe’s values and supporting its action in the youth field, which contributes to the democratic, social and cultural cohesion of the European continent and to strengthen solidarity

Associating ourselves with the follow-up action on the decisions of the First Summit of Heads of State and Government, which stressed the importance of the work against racism and intolerance, democratic security and the rule of law, and of the Second Summit, which emphasised the need to promote education for citizenship and democracy through practical projects in the fields of formal and informal education

Declare :

Having regard to

the ministerial declaration on youth participation, adopted in Strasbourg on 19 December 1985, enshrining the co-management concept applied at the Council of Europe, and promoting partnership between non-governmental and governmental youth structures, and improvement of the processes for youth participation in the life of the community;

the ministerial declaration adopted in Oslo on 12 April 1988, recommending the implementation of local, regional and national youth policies which progressively fully integrates young people and helps them to find their place in a society in which they can play a real part;

the ministerial declaration, adopted in Lisbon on 21 September 1990, on developing youth mobility to a standard which enables each young person to fully identify with the European cultural tradition;

the ministerial declaration, adopted in Vienna on 15 April 1993, on the recognition of the concept of an integrated and global youth policy, the application of which must result from a coherent juncture between the various sectoral policies in favour of young people and the promotion of youth participation, information and mobility within the framework of the setting-up such a policy within the Council of Europe

the conclusions of the informal meeting held by the European Ministers responsible for Youth in Luxembourg on 5 May 1995, on the need to extend the scope of youth policy to encompass social cohesion;

the Action Plan adopted at the First Summit of Heads of State and Government in Vienna on 13 October 1993, which launched the European Youth Campaign against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia and Intolerance;

the Action Plan adopted at the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government in Strasbourg on 11 October 1997, of which education for citizenship is one of its strong points;

Considering the Council of Europe’s enlargement to the new democracies and the emergence of new patterns of European solidarity on a continental scale,

Considering the far-reaching political and cultural changes which have taken place in European societies, particularly in the new technologies, and the different ways in which these changes affect different regions,

Considering, more specifically, the changes which have taken place in the social, cultural and economic situation of young people, in behaviour and lifestyles, in individual and collective values and patterns of political involvement, and the effects of these changes on the functioning of democracy,

Considering that the integration of young people into working life is an essential componant in their integration into society and that as from now it will also be recognised as such and built on the skills and qualifications they acquire from informal education, which enriches traditional models of education,

Considering the need for a dynamic youth policy which will enable the Council of Europe to meet these new challenges and so contribute to social and cultural cohesion in the member states and Europe-wide, and reaffirming the essential and positive role of young people in building a democratic Europe based on solidarity,

Considering that this policy must rest on a genuine partnership, and reaffirming the leading role of the non-governmental youth organisations and other bodies involved in it,

Considering that 15-25 year-olds are the age-group mainly concerned by implementation of such a policy, but taking into consideration the specificities of each country,
We, the European Ministers responsible for Youth, meeting here in Bucharest on 27, 28 and 29 April 1998, consider it urgently necessary to adapt the priorities and aims of youth policy to this new social and geopolitical context, and declare that the aims and objectives of the Council of Europe youth policy are:

to encourage associative life, and all other forms of action which embody democracy and pluralism, and help all young people to participate more fully in the life of the community

to adapt current partnership patterns to social change and to other types of youth organisations and youth work which have so far been under-represented, and further develop the concept of active participation by young people

to take full advantage of the valuable contribution which young people can make as active, responsible citizens

to develop citizenship education projects which make it possible to involve young people more quickly and more effectively in the life of the community, while respecting differences

to implement, from local to European level, an intersectoral, integrated and coherent youth policy, based on the principles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Social Charter

to encourage the integration of young people into working life and develop their employability

to reinforce co-operation with the new Member States, particularly by adapting activities to the specific needs of the various regions of Europe

to strengthen regional co-operation in the youth field for the purpose of improving participation, intercultural learning, mobility and access to information for young people

to promote new forms of solidarity, in particular by encouraging inter-generational dialogue

to enhance the importance of the Council of Europe’s work with young people and their organisations in the fight against all forms of intolerance and racism

to seek answers to the anxieties and aspirations of young people, especially the under-privileged, to take the necessary and special measures to integrate those who are excluded, and to involve them to a greater extent in the Council of Europe's work

Recalling that youth policies are aimed at all young people we recommend that the Committee of Ministers:

develop training programmes on project planning and management for members of non-governmental youth organisations as multipliers for young people in general, people responsible for youth work and staff of the government authorities concerned, on the basis of the Council of Europe's priorities: respect for human rights, rejection of all forms of intolerance, education for citizenship,

carry forward the recommendation made by the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth in Vienna (1993) on the setting-up of a European network of decentralised youth centres, the aim being to develop associative life within democratic, pluralistic and representative youth participation structures

encourage and support the setting-up of new associations and new European networks in the youth work field

develop mediation in all its forms, and particularly European networks of young mediators

work for the establishment of a European documentation and research centre as a forum for exchanges, publications and information in the youth field, and develop European information networks to give all those active in the youth sector access to existing data on the situation of young people in Europe

confirm the youth sector’s central role in ensuring that the Council of Europe pursues an intersectoral policy in the youth field

as recommended by the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth (Vienna, 1993), and the Plan of Action of Heads of State and Government (Strasbourg, October 1997) encourage and further co-operation with the European Union and other international organisations for the purpose of developing and reinforcing synergies

continue an international examination and analysis of national youth policies in order to contribute to the youth policies implemented at local, national and European levels

list and codify Council of Europe texts concerned with youth rights to provide a basis for discussion of a possible European legal instrument, in consultation, if necessary, with the Commission for Democracy and Law

continue to explore ways of improving the quality

on the political front, to foster consultation and co-ordination, internally with the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress for Local and Regional Authorities in Europe, and externally between the various international organisations, for the purpose of promoting youth policies from local to European level

ask the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to continue to hold regular debates on the situation of young people in Europe, thus contributing to the definition of priorities and projects in this field;

provide financial support towards the activities of the youth sector of the Council of Europe at an appropriate and agreed level – including the activities of the European Youth Foundation.

We encourage the Governments of the Council of Europe member states and of States party to the European Cultural Convention:

to facilitate education for citizenship, democracy and human rights by promoting the establishment and development, from local to national level, of representative, democratic and pluralist youth participation structures in accordance with Committee of Ministers Recommendation n R(97)3 on youth participation and the future of civil society;

to stimulate political commitment, particularly by considering lowering the age at which young people may vote and stand for election

as recommended by the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth in Vienna (1993), to introduce intersectoral policies in the youth field, thus strengthening existing synergies, and set up ad hoc structures for the implementation of global and integrated youth policies, including policies on youth mobility,

to encourage equality of opportunity by recognising training and skills acquired through informal education as an intrinsic element in vocational training, and finding various ways of endorsing experience and qualifications acquired in this way,

to elaborate and set up training and employment programmes with a view to integrating young people into the world of work

to foster social cohesion by promoting mediation as a new means of preventing and resolving all conflicts at all levels

to develop an active information policy for young people, making information universally accessible, and particularly to the under-privileged, in accordance with Committee of Ministers Recommendation n R(90)7 on youth information and counselling, covering use of, and general access to, the new technologies, and enabling young people to manage and use the growing volume of information available to them

to increase youth mobility in Europe, as advocated in Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R(95)18 on youth mobility, as a vital factor in intercultural learning and in combating racism

to collect and classify at national level existing references dealing with the rights and responsibilities of young people – these references to be updated and completed as necessary. The collected references from each country to be then collated and compiled in a broader European context so that a substantial common reference is made available.

to support the holding of regular debates in national parliaments on the situation of young people, thus making it possible to tailor youth policy to young people's real needs.

to encourage regional co-operation in the youth field by promoting it in a general sense, particularly with the new member states, falling back, if necessary, on already existing initiatives, and by taking practical measures for this purpose.

to support the complementarity between national youth policies and activities which underpin European activities so as to promote an effective implementation of programmes



Education to Citizenship

We, European Ministers responsible for Youth, meeting in Bucharest for our 5th Conference

Recalling the desire of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe, meeting in Strasbourg on 11 October 1997 for their 2nd Summit, to develop education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the participation of young people in civil society, and to consider that action as a priority theme of the work of the Council of Europe

Convinced that education to citizenship and youth participation are essential items of the philosophy of the work led by the Youth Sector of the Council of Europe as well as at governmental and non-governmental level

Considering that this action which aims are to define all the knowledge and skills needed to become and remain an active citizen, to develop them and study the ways of passing them on, should be implemented by the Youth Directorate in an intersectoral way, in particular with the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sports, the Directorate of Human Rights, the Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe

Thank the Secretary General, for underlining the importance of education for citizenship

thus recognising the work done by the Youth sector on these questions, and in order to reinforce and develop it, invite the Committee of Ministers to instruct the CDEJ and the statutory bodies in the Council of Europe’ youth sector :


Implementation of the Declaration by the CDEJ

In order to ensure the development of the youth sector of the Council of Europe towards European political and social realities, in the framework of an intersectorial, global and integrated youth policy which gathers all the non-governmental and governmental partners with the international intergovernmental organisations, and in conformity with the priorities defined in the plan of action launched by the 2nd Summit of Heads of State and Government, we European Ministers responsible for Youth, meeting in Bucharest on 27, 28 and 29 April 1998 for our 5th Conference, invite the Committee of Ministers to consider the following themes as priorities for the CDEJ :

To promote youth participation and citizenship by :


To develop non-formal education as a means for integration into society

To reinforce social cohesion by :