Youth - Young people building Europe

6th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth

Thessaloniki, Greece, 7-9 November 2002

Resolution on the priorities of the Council of Europe’s youth sector for 2003-2005

“Youth constructing Europe”

Having regard to Resolution (98) 6 of the Committee of Ministers on the Youth Policy of the Council of Europe, and of the conclusions of the 5th Conference of European Ministers responsible for youth, held in Bucharest from 27 to 29 April 1998;

Taking into account the developments since the Bucharest Conference, and the new challenges that Europe and young people in particular have to meet;

Bearing in mind the Vilnius Declaration on regional co-operation and the consolidation of democratic stability in the greater Europe, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 3 May 2002, at its 110th session;

Bearing in mind the importance the Council of Europe attaches to partnership between governments and youth organisations and networks in drawing up and implementing its youth policy;

Bearing in mind the objectives of the Council of Europe’s youth sector, namely:

  • To help young people to find ways of meeting both the challenges facing them and their own aspirations;
  • To encourage young people to be actors in the process of bringing about a closer European unity based on the principles and values of pluralist democracy, human rights and the rule of law;
  • To empower young people, through non-formal education/learning and participation methods, to play an active role in the strengthening of civil society in Europe;
  • To promote and support the development of youth policies in Europe;

We, European Ministers responsible for youth, meeting in Thessaloniki from 7 to 9 November 2002, declare that the following should be regarded as priority fields of the youth sector for the next three years:

    The promotion of intercultural dialogue and peace, with special emphasis on:

  • the promotion of mediation, peace-building and conflict resolution;
  • intercultural dialogue and the dialogue between civilisations;
  • training and capacity-building of European youth organisations, based on the intercultural learning methodology;

    Human rights education and the promotion of human dignity, and social cohesion, with special emphasis on:

  • the fight against racism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination;
  • the development of social cohesion;
  • the fight against social exclusion of young people;
  • the fight against violence in everyday life.

    Participation and democratic citizenship, with special emphasis on:

  • the training of young democratic leaders, and multipliers;
  • the support to and the development of non-governmental democratic youth organisations and networks;
  • the participation and access of young people, in particular disadvantaged and minority groups, in democratic institutions and processes;
  • the reduction of barriers to youth participation, at local, regional, national and European levels;
  • the establishment and proper functioning of non-governmental democratic representative youth bodies, at local, regional and national levels.

The overall programme of the youth sector should be implemented taking into consideration the following two strategic priorities, which constitute the common ground of the Council of Europe’s action in the youth field:

    Support to the setting-up and development of appropriate youth policies, concentrating in particular on:

  • a comparative analysis of national youth policies, including the development of tools and evaluation criteria at national level;
  • support to the development of national youth policies, notably in the new member States of the Council of Europe;
  • the elaboration of national strategies for youth, and appropriate legislation;
  • relations between youth policies and childhood policies;
  • policies for vulnerable young people;
  • the recognition of non-formal education/learning and its complementarity with formal education;
  • information and advice to young people;
  • the contribution of young people to social and cultural innovation;
  • environmental education;
  • the promotion of partnership between governments and youth organisations for the definition, implementation and evaluation of youth policies.

    Taking into consideration, to a greater extent, the youth dimension in other activity sectors of the Council of Europe;

this action implies in particular:

  • the participation of representatives of the statutory bodies of the youth sector in a number of steering committees and other working structures of the Council of Europe;
  • the consultation of the Advisory Council by the Committee of Ministers or by subordinated intergovernmental committees, regarding legal texts which have a specific impact on young people;
  • the convening of regular meetings of the Co-ordination Group of the Secretary General on youth questions;
  • the active participation of the youth sector in the integrated and multidisciplinary programmes of the Council of Europe.

In implementing its priorities, the youth sector should also strengthen its co-operation with other international organisations (e.g. UNESCO, UNICEF) and, in particular, with the European Union, through agreements. Such co-operation should focus on training of youth leaders and youth workers, research in the youth field and information and documentation.

MJN-6 (2002) 5