Since the late 1990s youth, and youth interests have grabbed more and more attention in the EU. This shows if nothing else the apparent competence increase on the youth field on the EU level. When in the last years support went majorly to youth exchanges and stays in other EU countries, a paradigm shift became clear with the creation and publishing of the EU white paper “A new impetus for Europe’s youth” in 2001. The European commission showed their will to include young people more into the decision making process and give the European youth policy a new framework. The EU member states backed this decision. 2002 the youth ministers decided to cooperate more strongly in certain fields of youth politics. From a European cooperation in the domain of youth, emerged a European youth policy.
1949 the Council of Europe was founded and is thus the oldest political organisation in Europe. 47 European countries are member of it, including 21 countries from middle and Eastern Europe. Aims of the Council of Europe are:
Further information: www.coe.int
The Council of Europe puts great worth on youth participation and is therefore an exellent role model. It acknowledges the different youth organisations as equal partners and coordinates its youth policy in co-operation with them.
This happens in the European Steering Committee for Youth, in which 30 youth representatives from all over Europe work together with state representatives of the 47 member states on the same level. Together they decide on priorities, goals and the budget for the youth policy of the Council of Europe. The youth representatives constitute the advisory council.
To provide for the interests of young people the Council of Europe founded in 1972 the European youth centre in Strasbourg. After the changes in Europe in 1989 and the enlargement of the Council of Europe by the countries of middle and Eastern Europe a second youth centre was founded in Budapest in 1995. Both centres give possibilities to accommodate educational events in the youth political context.
The European youth centres offer training courses in cooperation with the European youth organisations. The topics of these training courses are aimed at creating more efficient international youth work. In this way youth workers of NGOs that want to work in an international scale can improve their language proficiency in courses.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe also founded the youth centres to financially support international activities organised by young people, for young people. Thanks to the to the youth centres, youth organisations can realise multilateral projects.
A common council makes all decisions on programmes of the youth centres of the Council of Europe and agrees on the general politic directions of these institutions. This council consists of representatives of twelve governments and twelve youth organisations; everyone having a single vote.
More information on the youth centres: www.coe.int/t/dg4/youth/EYC/European_Youth_Centres_en.asp