The current economic and social context in Europe today is creating very diverse challenges for young people. They are often the first to be affected by unemployment and discrimination. With increasing fragmentation and economic inequalities of our societies there is a real risk of democratic disillusionment and social exclusion of young people. The Youth for Democracy programme seeks to achieve the active participation and autonomy of young people in peaceful and inclusive societies of Europe. The work is based on a co-management principle that actively involves young people in the decision-making process.

A series of activities such as training courses, conferences, seminars, consultative meetings, youth peace camps and study sessions bringing youth NGOs to the European Youth Centres to study the priority themes prepares the beneficiaries to become multipliers for the values defended through the youth programme. Research and educational manuals are also produced and widely disseminated, thereby reaching out to a wider population of youth workers, NGOs and authorities on the priorities of the Youth for Democracy programme; this will be strengthened by the wide outreach of the No Hate Speech Movement to individuals in the member States.

This programme line involves a double perspective.

  1. The first objective is that young people change their behaviour to influence decisions in democratic processes and increase their involvement in the development of inclusive and peaceful societies.
  2. The second objective is that member States take concrete measures for youth policy development facilitating young people’s access to rights.

  2020-21 Priorities of the Council of Europe youth sector

The strategic priorities for each biennial programme of the youth sector are defined by the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), which is the central co‐managed political body of the youth sector.

The three strategic priorities for the 2020‐21 biennium will be to focus on:

  • promoting young people's access to rights and supporting them in advocating education for human rights and democracy;
  • facilitating young people's autonomy and participation through the promotion of youth policies and youth work, as well as support for youth civil society;
  • engaging young people in peace-building and social cohesion, to combat discrimination and exclusion.


The following expected results and programme orientations have been defined for 2020-21.