OUR CONTEXT, history and background

1946

Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister and one of the founding fathers of the Council of Europe) first uttered the words Council of Europe and the vision behind it "…we must re-create the European family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe, and the first practical step will be to form a Council of Europe."

1949

After two devastating World Wars - in both human and economic cost - the Council of Europe (CoE) is set up.

Council of Europe (CoE)
  • Mission: to guard the rights of all its people, to promote peace and co-operation and to achieve respect of law and order; in other words democracy, human rights and rule of law.
  • Encourages political unity between European countries.
  • Aims to ensure that such tragic events as WWI and WWII never be repeated.
  • Is the first organisation of its kind.
  • Is an organisation based in Strasbourg, France.
  • 47 member countries, 800 million citizens.
  • Is different and separated from other European international bodies, but it works closely on various themes with European Union and United Nations institutions.
1968
  • Student protests in France which led to general strike and brought the economy to standstill.
  •  For the Council of Europe it is the year that brought to attention the needs of young people.
  •  Starting with May - youth policy is included on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe agenda/programme.
1969

Parliamentary Assembly (CoE) decides to establish a European Youth Foundation and a European Youth Centre as permanent institutions.

December Summit - heads of state and government meeting in Hague, support the enlargement of the European Community (European Union). They also acknowledge the need to facilitate active participation and involvement of young people in the construction of Europe.

1972

The European Youth Foundation (EYF) and the European Youth Centre (EYC) are fully functional.

Why?
  • Recognition of the need to give young people a voice at the centre of decision making; a voice to be heard at a top level; a voice that empowers.
  • EYF and EYC - as instruments to support the actions of non-governmental youth organisations and networks.
How?
  • Non-governmental youth organisations are recognised as a way to promote democratic participation. Through their variety, autonomy and lack of government control, youth NGOs are an expression of democracy and Human Rights, fundamental values of the Council of Europe.
  • Non-governmental youth organisations along with government representatives are involved in the running of these instruments. A unique and successful co-management system. For more information see: co-management

Even if the EYF and EYC share a number of objectives, each has its own specific features. In 1995 a second European Youth Centre was set up and inaugurated in Budapest.

The european youth foundation

Early beginnings

Pioneer and visionary tool, major contribution to democratic development

  • We supported European co-operation, we focused on multilateral youth activities (participation of youth of many nationalities).
  • We provided financial support to international and national youth activities.
  • We are proud to have made a real contribution towards a closer co-cooperation between Eastern and Western Europe; we believed in the free circulation of people and ideas in Europe.
  • We promoted peace, understanding and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • We encouraged non-governmental youth organisations to work at European level.
  • Initially we had 17 member states.
  • Youth organisations participated in managing the Foundation; governments contributed to its budget.
TODAY
  • The layers have changed but our core remains the same.
  • We have 47 member countries. We work with countries signatories of the Cultural Convention (47 member countries + Belarus, Holy See and Kazakhstan).
  • Our annual budget is around 3 million Euros.
  • We support 1 project per working day; around 300 grants a year.