The last week of January, the European Youth Conference 2022 kicked off in Strasbourg, under the 2022 French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference addresses new goals for youth: a sustainable and greener Europe, and building more inclusive societies; moreover it opens the 9th cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue, a dialogue mechanism between young people and decision makers. As YEU International, we also took our place in the conference.
The conference is organised by the French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sport and by the French National Youth Council with the support of the European Commission. Youth state secretary Sarah El Hairy was very pleased to open the youth conference, product of a new methodology of trust, which has the will to move forward. She recalled the importance of making youth policies, for young people, with young people.
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel called on youth to seize the institutional opportunity to shape youth policies. The youth conference is part of the European Year of Youth and it is up to the Commission to move forward with youth. “What would you like to see in terms of action?”
Member of European Parliament Anne Sander recalled the commitment of the European Parliament and its members to youth: Support for the European Year of Youth, Setting up the ALMA (Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve) programme, More mobility with the European civic service, An extended Erasmus Plus programme, A European Youth Guarantee.
Tanguy Guibert from National Youth Council of France mentioned the importance of including young people with lived migratory experiences in policy processes at the EU Youth Conference.
The second day of the event was about discussions. Every delegate was participating in workshop discussions on five main topics: Governance, action & empowerment, education & information, Mobility & solidarity, access to infrastructures.
Right after the workshops young people had the opportunity to meet with decision/policy makers, to make the youth voice heard.
Besides all this, 15 projects of the “Young and Eco-Committed Challenge” were presented to vote on the first day and the last day they announced the winners. “Young and Eco-Committed Challenge” is addressed to young people in the European Union, with new and concrete ideas to address environmental issues, and who need support and visibility to get them off the ground.
At the end of the European Youth Conference that lasted for three full days, closing speeches were given by the policy makers to highlight the importance of youth participation. These 3 days were a great moment of exchange with EU activists for a sustainable and inclusive Europe.
As individuals working in the youth field, we will continue to make our voices heard and make this participation permanent.