National youth policies
The information provided on this page is the responsibility of the national representatives on the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and does not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Council of Europe or its member states.
The 50 states parties to the European Cultural Convention are invited to send links to their national youth strategies, action plans, or other youth policy measures.
Following the expiry of the 2013-17 Strategy for the State Youth Policy of the Republic of Armenia, the 2018-22 Strategy has been postponed pending a review of the current needs and situation of young people. The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs wishes to see a stronger, citizen-centric and more inclusive Strategy. In view of recent constitutional changes, the legal framework is being reviewed to see whether the Republic of Armenia should have a law on youth to meet the needs of young people, youth workers, and other relevant stakeholders. Within the Ministry, there is a commitment to create an enabling environment for civil society, local expertise and citizen engagement. The Ministry is also committed to studying international practice and to synchronising with European youth policy standards by involving impartial, international and comparative expertise and assessment.
The Austrian Youth Strategy, coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth, is a process designed to strengthen and develop youth policy throughout Austria. The goal of this strategy is to bring together policies and measures for young people, to make them systematic and to optimise their effectiveness.
Four fields of action are important for the Austrian Youth Strategy:
- Learning and Employment
- Participation and Initiative
- Quality of Life and a Spirit of Cooperation
- Media and Information
The Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth considers itself to be the impetus behind this initiative. The implementation of these measures is the task and responsibility of those involved in shaping policy and it must be supported by a broad youth policy consensus.
The renewed Austrian Youth Strategy was developed further in line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027.
Infosheets on Youth Policy and Youth Work provide compact information on youth policy topics.
The aim of Youth Development Strategy (2015-25) and of the State programme “Azerbaijan Youth in 2017-21” is to achieve the effective implementation of youth policy in Azerbaijan, to promote the active participation of young people in all spheres of society and to support young people's creative and innovative potential.
The State Programme on Education and Youth Policy for 2016-20 is a guiding document for youth policy implementation in Belarus. The objectives in the youth field are to:
- foster young people's active citizenship and participation in civic life and to enhance their feelings of patriotism;
- improve a positive attitude towards traditional family values and responsible parenthood;
- improve healthy lifestyle behaviour among young people;
- prevent negative phenomena in the field of youth;
- romote youth employment and entrepreneurship and to facilitate effective access for young people to the labour market;
- encourage youth involvement in extracurricular activities including volunteering and student work team movement;
- support socially significant initiatives of young people, pupils, students, and self-governance bodies;
- support children’s and youth public associations’ activities.
Source: State Programme on Education and Youth Policy for 2016-20 (Russian only)
The main strategic objective of national youth policy is to improve young people’s quality of life and to establish conditions for the success of every young person by developing sustainable mechanisms for investing in youth as an important social capital and for mobilizing young people’s potential for the development of the country and the EU. The Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Bulgaria works for the promotion of European values such as solidarity, democracy and equality. Important part of the government policy is focused on the quality and the sustainability of youth progress, thus making the future of young people one of the main priorities in the Governance Programme until 2021.
The National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) sets out the long-term goals and priorities of the governmental youth policy of the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of 10 years and it will expire by the end of 2020. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is in a process of drafting a new National Youth Strategy in line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. In order to hear the voice of young people, to discuss the challenges and identify the key areas and priority themes that young people are interested in, within the process of development of the new National Youth Strategy, in 2019 the Ministry of Youth and Sports had 13 consultative meetings with young people and youth organizations in different cities in partnership with the municipal and district administrations. The purpose of this process of consultations is to follow-up young people’s attitudes and to give them a platform for direct involvement and for sharing their ideas for personal and professional development. In addition to young people, representatives of all stakeholders and local authorities took part in the debates too.
Until July 2020 National youth policy was within the scope of the Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy. Though recognised as a unique field, youth policy is a shared domain across other ministries. In July 2020 a Central State Office for Demography and Youth was established.
During the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020 the following priorities in the youth field were defined:
- Opportunities for young people in rural and remote areas
- Raising awareness of the youth sector by informing and strengthening resources
- Encouraging EU Youth Dialogue (Cycle VII results)
During the EU Presidency, the Ministry organised :
- EU Youth Conference “Opportunities for Rural Youth - How to Ensure the Sustainability of Rural Communities across the EU?” (9 - 11 March 2020).
- Meeting of the Directors General for Youth “Keep in Step with the Times - Equal Opportunities for Youth” (11 - 12 March 2020).
In May 2018, the Youth Advisory Board was constituted for a period of two years. Its task is to promote and advocate for the rights, needs and interests of young people at their local and regional level.
The Ministry participates in European projects such as:
- Europe Goes Local
- European Solidarity Corps
- Youth Wiki
The Ministry was the national body responsible for monitoring and supervising the management of the Erasmus + programme in the field of youth. In 2019, the Ministry supported the implementation of the project Youth Wiki 2019 – “Support to better knowledge in youth policy” through financial assistance.
National Youth Strategy (Greek only).
In close cooperation with the cross-sectoral working group for Youth, the Youth Board of Cyprus is in the process of drafting the second 3-year Action Plan (2020-2022) of the National Youth Strategy and the 1st Progress Report 2017-2019 regarding the implementation of the first Action Plan. Both documents will be submitted to the Council of Ministers and will feed the discussions for the future National Youth Strategy after 2022.
Contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Estonia's youth policy is laid down in the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020. The process of setting new aims for the next strategic period has begun. A 6th Youth Work Forum took place on 4 and 5 October 2018, during which input was collected in order to set new goals.
Finnish National youth work and youth policy programme 2020-2023:
The current Youth Act (1285/2016) constitutes the legal basis for the programme. According to the Youth Act the Government shall adopt a national youth work and policy programme every four years. In December 2019, the National youth work and youth policy programme 2020-2023 was adopted by the Government. The aim of the programme is to improve the conditions young people live and grow in. One of the programme’s main goals is to establish the youth policy perspective as part of public sector decision-making. VANUPO (Ministry of Education and Culture) will help the effective use of resources from various sectors.
The national programme includes all young people under the age of 29 as provided in the Youth Act.
Currently in France, public policies on youth aim to create "a trustworthy society". By addressing education and training, young people’s engagement and by promoting their autonomy, governmental policies should lead to “society’s confidence in its young people and young people’s confidence in their society”.*
- The education and training of young people is at the heart of the Government’s youth policies which wants to build a "school of trust" to ensure pupils' success.
- The Government's ambition to strengthen young people's engagement for society is achieved through the development of voluntary work and civic service, notably in the framework of the “duties done” programme and through consideration of the setting up of a “universal military service”.
- Autonomy of young people: These policies address:
- the fight against the renunciation of social rights;
- the territorialisation of youth policies;
- the creation of more synergies between partners.
* Source: speech by the Minister of National Education to the Youth Policy Orientation Council, 29 June 2017
In August 2019 the new LEPL Youth Agency was founded as a part of the Government’s structural reform plan. The Agency's main goal for the next three years is a comprehensive reform of the youth sector in Georgia.
The Youth Agency of Georgia has already developed a three-year fundamental reform strategy and an action plan based on Georgia’s National Youth Policy and it aims at:
- developing inclusive and participatory youth policy work on the national and local level through legislative acts and regulations and through supporting the municipal institutions with the formulation and implementation a municipal youth policy;
- creating more opportunities for young people by providing high quality Youth Work services, non-formal education programmes and information;
- providing grants and capacity building activities for youth organizations;
- enhancing the qualification of youth workers;
- promoting a healthy lifestyle, human rights, tolerance and gender equality.
Two important events were organized in Georgia on the topic of youth participation and youth work:
- an international peer-learning event on strengthening the potential of youth work in Eastern Europe (27-28 November 2019, in Tbilisi, Georgia)
- an international conference “Advancing youth participation in local and regional life” (29 November 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia)
Regarding the implementation of the reform, the first phase was successfully completed in August 2019, the second phase in February 2020, it involved the development of strategic documents and action plans on different directions of the reform, the third phase will be launched in March 2020, with the implementation of pilot projects in selected municipalities of Georgia. The fourth phase will start in the second half of 2021, after the end of the evaluation process of pilot projects implemented in 2020. This fourth phase will be the last part in the process of establishing the sustainable ecosystem of the youth sector.
The General Secretary for Youth has officially presented the Strategic Framework for the Empowerment of Youth entitled “Youth ’17-‘27” which serves as a roadmap for government agencies and partners in youth policy. It has seven main objectives:
- Promoting young people’s self-reliance and independence and facilitating their transition to adulthood.
- Affordable and quality education – training – apprenticeship.
- Decent work and development of youth entrepreneurship.
- Health, welfare and well-being.
- Reinforce the participation of young people in democratic life.
- Reduction of inequalities among young people.
- Youth-friendly cities and the demographic renewal of periphery.
For further information: http://www.neagenia.gr/neolaia17-27/.
Changes have been made on the law on the Ombudsman for Children in Iceland. The Ombudsman for Children shall organise every other year a Children´s Congress where 250 children (12-17 years old, selected randomly) and about 200 MP’s, Governmental officials, local authorities, representatives from the labour market, etc. come together to discuss issues concerning children and youth. The first Children´s Congress was held in November 2019 and the result of that has been introduced to the Government. The Ombudsman of Children is also working on an action plan on how to increase influence of children and youth on policy making.
The Ministry of Social Affairs has made a contract with the Icelandic Youth Council regarding involvement of young people when it comes to policy making. The Youth Council will also be consulting with the Minister and the Ministry on youth affairs on how to increase participation of young people.
Irish Youth Strategy
The National Youth Strategy 2015–2020 has its basis in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children & Young People (2014-2020) (BOBF). This framework sets out the Government’s agenda and priorities in relation to all children and young people under the age of 25 years and provides for the development and implementation of policies and services in relation to the following interconnected and mutually reinforcing outcome areas.
- Active and healthy, physical and mental well-being;
- Achieving full potential in all areas of learning and development;
- Safe and protected from harm;
- Economic security and opportunity;
- Connected, respected and contributing to their world.
Other strategies developed under BOBF include the:
- National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making (2015-2020)
- LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy 2018-2020.
Implementing the National Youth Strategy is a shared responsibility across government departments, agencies and youth interests. All youth services funded by Department of Children and Youth Affairs employ the National Youth Strategy outcomes and actions to plan and structure their strategy for delivering youth programmes. Cross-departmental engagement is on-going and Departments with responsibilities under the National Youth Strategy report the status of actions via the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures reporting structures.
Due to the upcoming expiration of the Youth policy implementation Plan 2016-2020, Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Latvia is currently developing a new youth policy planning document, which will be a part of broader interinstitutional planning document - “Guidelines for children, youth and family affairs 2021-2027”. Guidelines for children, youth and family affairs will came in to force 01.01.2021.
In 2015 the Maltese Government revised its National Youth Policy for the fourth time. The document is entitled ‘Il-Politika Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ Lejn l-2020 Viżjoni Komuni għall-Futur taż-Żgħażagħ’ – ‘National Youth Policy Towards 2020 A Shared Vision for the Future of Young People’.
The National Youth Policy is underpinned by three separate but interlocking pillars:
- the first pillar is the reality of the lives of young people in Malta
- the second pillar relates to the development of youth policy over the past 20 years at both European and national levels
- the third pillar concerns greater democratic participation, equitable economic and social progress for all, and inclusive change.
The policy intends to effectively support and encourage young people in fulfilling their potential and aspirations while addressing their needs and concerns. It intends to support young people as active and responsible citizens who fully participate in and contribute to the social, economic and cultural life of Malta, Europe and beyond.
As a result of this document in 2017 the first Inter-ministerial working group on youth policy was set up, chaired by Agenzija Zghazagh, the National Youth Agency. This working group is made up of all the different Ministries that have a stake in youth policy. The group is set to meet up twice a year and report on any development in youth policy in the respective areas.
The new Law on Youth was adopted on 4 April 2019, its objective is to improve the planning and implementation of youth policy, by strengthening the institutional framework and empowering youth services, in which young people can get skills and knowledge that contribute to their personal and social development. The Law also specifies methods of constituting youth advisory bodies, as well as the realization of youth policy by non-governmental organizations, with a focus on their participation in the work of national and local advisory bodies.
Two out of three bylaws recognized within the Law have already been adopted:
- the Rulebook on criteria and conditions for choosing a space for youth service.
- the Rulebook on the method of functioning youth services and the performance of the administrative and technical jobs needed for their functioning.
The Government of Montenegro also adopted the Program on achieving public interest in the field of youth policy for 2020. To define the priorities of public interest of the Program, the Ministry elaborated the Youth needs assessment (and will do so every year).
The Ministry implements the National Youth Strategy for the period 2017-2021, which defines six key priorities regarding Montenegrin youth:
- Young people achieve economic and social security through improved access to the labor market and employment;
- Young people have access to quality education;
- Young people are active citizens, involved, motivated, proactive and participate in decision-making and community development processes, in the creation of policies and their implementation;
- Young people are healthy, they are safe, have access to an adequate support system for transition to adulthood and self-realization;
- Young people have access to quality cultural contents as creators and consumers;
- Normative and institutional framework for the implementation of youth policy has been established.
(more at www.strategijazamlade.me)
In 2017, the Ministry established a Coordination Inter-Sectorial Body for monitoring the implementation of the Youth Strategy, composed of representatives of all ministries that are recognized as actors who implement activities for youth. They regularly report on the activities of their ministries related to the Action Plan of the Youth Strategy, suggest possible inter-sectoral projects and give recommendations on the strategic documents in the field of youth.
Youth services (youth clubs and youth centers) are among the key infrastructural mechanisms for improving youth participation, their networking and the development of life skills and non-formal education. The Ministry of Sports and Youth has done an intense work to provide tangible services to young people and opened dozens of youth clubs in municipalities throughout Montenegro, as well as the Youth Centre in Podgorica. The intention is to open youth services in every municipality in Montenegro, but also to support the work of the existing ones. Through the Law on Youth, the Ministry or the municipality, shall ensure conditions for work of youth services, and provide the space to enable their sustainability and better implementation of youth policy at both national and local level.
The Norwegian government's child and youth policy is based on the following objectives and principles:
- A safe upbringing in family and in the local community
- Equal rights and opportunities
- Participation and influence
- High quality services for everyone
Norwegian youth policy is cross-sectoral with emphasis on collaboration and coordination between local and central authorities, and with the voluntary sector. In addition, children and young people’s participation is emphasised.
Recent policy developments across sectors include:
- Gender equality and education
- Social inclusion
As far as youth participation at local and national levels is concerned, as of 2019, every municipality must have a local youth council, that advises local decision makers. A digital guide has been developed to support youth council members and provide guidance to municipalities.
In June 2019, Portugal hosted the Lisboa+21 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth 2019 and a Youth Forum. The events were held in Lisbon, promoted by the Portuguese Government and the National Youth Council and endorsed by several UN-system partners. The Lisboa+21 Declaration is the main outcome of the event, composed of a set of 17 commitments based on cross-cutting topics that renewed the 1998 Lisbon Declaration’s commitments, in the light of the 2030 Agenda.
The Republic of Serbia adopted its Law on Youth in 2011. The second National Youth Strategy is valid from 2015 to 2025. The first three-year Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy expired last year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is co-ordinating the development of a new one based on an external evaluation of the previous Action Plan.
The new Action Plan, will contribute to the achievement of the NYS's goals and will cover the period 2018-20. In order to implement the goals of the National Youth Strategy and the Action Plan 2018-2020, the Ministry of Youth and Sports continues to support youth associations with the aim to increase active participation of young people in society, volunteering and encourage their involvement in the development of youth policy in Serbia.
PREPARATION OF THE FUTURE STRATEGY FOR YOUTH
In august 2019, Youth Department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport (hereinafter referred to as “the Ministry”) launched the process of preparing the future strategy for youth, as the current strategy is valid only till the end of December 2020. A specialized working group has been created to ensure the participation of various stakeholders from the practice. In the future strategy, the Ministry wants to change the paradigm – from current focus on cross-sectoral cooperation to focus on „young persons“. The Strategy is planned for a period of 8 years: 2021-2028. Moreover, the Ministry strongly aims at measurability of set goals and indicators in the form of key and partial performance indicators, that will be an integral part of the future strategy.
The Ministry is currently working on the narrative part of the document and hopefully, the whole process will be finished by autumn 2020 when it will share the concrete goals and measure of the new Strategy for Youth 2021-2028.
In 2020, the Swedish government has continued the work with a new youth policy communication which includes an updated national action plan. The policy is based on multiple reports from agencies, organisations, scientists and statistics about young people’s living conditions, and is based on the Swedish government’s youth policy goals which are that all young people are to have good living conditions, power to shape their own lives and influence over the general development of society
To secure the equal opportunity to influence and participation for all young men and women, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil society were commissioned in 2020 to create strategies for how municipalities can strengthen youth’s knowledge and participation in the democracy. The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare will during 2020 review and analyse prior and ongoing research about youth’s organisation and political participation.
The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has during 2020 continued to support municipalities working with young people not in education, employment or training. In February 2020 the agency published a sub-report covering systematic obstacles and structural challenges for the NEET group and lists various problem areas and the need for more efficient activities that can provide strategic, early and coordinated long-term efforts directed towards young people. In 2021 a final report will be published presenting a national coordinated support for the NEET-group.
In February 2020 The Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services got the mission to evaluate the efforts which aims to improve mental health and prevent mental health issues and suicide among children and young people. The Swedish Media council published the report Youth, media and mental illness in 2020 analysing the correlation between media use and mental health issues among youths.
Table of information on recent developments in the national implementation of youth policies.
The information provided in these documents is the responsibility of the national representatives on the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and does not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Council of Europe or its member states.