At its meeting on 12 and 13 October 2021, the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) approved a proposal to launch, in 2022, a youth campaign for revitalising democracy.
Youth for democracy, democracy for youth (working title) will be the rallying cry for this new youth campaign which is being organised at a time when the Council of Europe Secretary General has voiced her concerns of “a clear and worrying degree of democratic backsliding. […] Democracy is […] required as a backstop for maintaining human rights and the rule of law.” *
The Council of Europe Youth sector strategy 2030 recognises young people’s “fundamental role in promoting the Council of Europe’s core values” and aims at enabling young people across Europe to actively uphold, defend, promote and benefit from those values. Revitalising democracy is one of the Strategy’s four priorities.
The symptoms of democracy in distress, such as shrinking spaces for youth civil society and curbing of freedom of association and assembly, or decreases in the public provision of youth spaces and services, all contribute to a climate where young people “show a high degree of political interest but a low degree of engagement with essential democratic processes”. *
The focus and themes of the campaign will be revitalising democracy, youth participation and the impact of digitalisation on young people, the aim being to increase young people’s role in the process of revitalising participatory democracy in the Council of Europe and restore mutual trust between young people and democratic institutions and processes.
The campaign will run from March to October 2022, the year that will mark 50 years of the Council of Europe youth sector. Both governmental and non-governmental youth partners will be invited to organise national and local activities and events according to a thematic monthly calendar that could cover the following issues.
Watch this space for further information!
* State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. A democratic renewal for Europe. Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe 2021.