Opening up Europe to young people
The Council of Europe’s main goals for young people are:
- to encourage them to take an active part in strengthening civic society in Europe and to help them to meet its challenges and their own aspirations through non-formal education and participation;
- to promote and develop youth policies in Europe, with special emphasis on democratic citizenship and better educational and employment opportunities.
Young people, youth associations and networks, civil movements, government agencies and experts participate in ongoing consultation on policy objectives and practice. The Council of Europe also encourages the development of youth associations, networks and initiatives and stimulates international co-operation between youth organisations.
The Council’s youth sector has set itself the following priorities for 2006 to 2008:
- education in human rights and social cohesion;
- participation and democratic citizenship;
- promoting intercultural dialogue and peace;
- establishing and developing appropriate youth policies.
Training for European youth work
The European Youth Centres (EYCs)
The European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest are international residential training and meeting centres. Their advisory teams provide educational and technical assistance in preparing, running and following up youth activities.
Every year they organise several courses for young people who are active in youth organisations and initiatives. These courses cover youth activities, international co-operation, intercultural education and non-formal education and training, with special emphasis on human rights, minority issues, intercultural dialogue, democratic citizenship and peace. The development of civil society in conflict areas is a particular concern.
Approximately 35 one-week international study sessions take place each year, where youth organisation members meet experts to discuss a wide variety of subjects.
Expert meetings, seminars and symposia allow youth workers to exchange views on selected issues and to broaden their perspectives on youth policy. The Council’s policy-makers make a careful study of participants’ ideas and recommendations.
Financial support for international youth projects
The Council of Europe provides over €3 million annually to the European Youth Foundation (EYF) to support youth activities across the continent. Over 300 000 young people have benefited from EYF activities since 1972.
Getting young Europeans on the rails
The Council of Europe and the International Union of Railways (UIC) have joined forces to set up the Solidarity Fund for Youth Mobility, which supports mobility projects for disadvantaged young people. Since its creation in 1995, the fund has supported over 270 projects and allowed over 5 000 young people to travel across Europe for international meetings and projects.
Youth Cards: carte blanche for youth mobility
The partial agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) provides a system of Youth Cards for people under the age of 26, facilitating access to the goods and services they need to travel for personal and cultural development.
A European research network promotes contact between scientists, governments and non-governmental youth organisations and supports comparative multinational research projects.
Development and consolidation of democratic stability
The Council of Europe’s field activities programme includes training courses, study visits and consultations in central and east European countries. The objectives are:
- to set up youth associations and structures in central and eastern Europe in order to strengthen civil society;
- to help these countries to develop youth policies locally, regionally and nationally;
- to encourage intercultural dialogue;
- to promote exchanges between young people from all over Europe.
Democratic Leadership Programme
The objective of the Democratic Leadership Programme (DLP) is to develop the political skill and competence of future politicians, journalists and NGO leaders in central and eastern Europe as the best way to ensure democratic security.
The programme aims to establish trust between young leaders from different societies and ethnic communities and to build a network of DLP alumni to initiate activities within the core programme.
European youth worker training
The Partnership Programme on European Youth Worker Training, a joint venture between the Council of Europe and the European Commission, has been operating since 1998. The programme finances training courses and materials for European youth workers. Its activities include an annual training forum, a website, a magazine (Coyote) and a series of educational and training publications (T-Kits). Its projects emphasise curriculum development and improvement of the quality of training.
Youth policies: encouraging participation and citizenship
The European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) brings together representatives of ministries or bodies responsible for youth matters from the 50 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention.
The CDEJ works specifically on issues related to youth participation and citizenship, non-formal education and youth voluntary service.
It has drafted the Committee of Ministers recommendations on:
- information and counselling for young people in Europe;
- communication and co-operation in youth research in Europe;
- promoting voluntary service;
- youth mobility;
- youth participation and the future of civil society.
“All different – All equal” European Youth Campaign
In 2006 the Council of Europe organised the "All Different - All Equal" European Youth Campaign for Diversity, Human Rights and Participation.
The aim of this campaign was to encourage and enable young people to participate in building peaceful societies based on diversity and inclusion, in a spirit of respect, tolerance and mutual understanding. This initiative highlighted links with the 1995 Campaign against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia and Intolerance and hence shares the slogan "All Different - All Equal".