We are now more than used to hearing politicians and representatives claiming high and clear that youth should be a priority. The alarming figures are not so much of a surprise anymore: the youth unemployment rate in Europe is more than 22,6%, there has been a drastic drop in the interest of young people for the democratic processes, still only 30% young Europeans end up with a University degree… Young people are our future and they do deserve support and attention. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions, we cannot help but notice that the European Union’s budget allocated to youth is still around 0,1% of the total budget, and that on a national level, education and youth is rarely a priority, when it comes to investing money.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and now AEGEE is calling for a real investment in youth and youth organisations, in order to provide young people with real opportunities, and the recognition of the importance of youth organisations in terms of empowering young people, of giving them tools, skills and knowledge which are the bulding blocks for their future success. The work carried out by youth organisations such as AEGEE – and many others, active on a local, national or European level – is crucial, as with very little resources, we are developing young people, training and educating them, so that they will later on invest in their communities. Through non-formal activities, we also contribute to empowering young people and increasing their chances, not only on the job market, but also to become active citizens.
Therefore, in a period when the EU budget for youth is drafted for the next 7 years, we consider it necessary to remind decision makers that actions speak louder than words, and that if they want to invest in youth, it now is the time to take action. On the morning of 16th October, AEGEE took part in the stakeholders meeting organised by European Youth Forum (YFJ) to discuss the latest news regarding the negotiation concerning the youth budget planning of the next multi-financial framework, and it is with pleasure that we heard that the European Youth Forum represents the needs of young people and youth organizations.
With Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth
On this occasion, AEGEE wants join the European Youth Forum, and raise its voice, not only as a European based youth structure, but also on behalf of the 15 000 young individuals who are part of our network. We believe that it is high time to give young people the means to develop themselves as active citizens, to find their place in society and in the job market. AEGEE hopes that on both the national and the European level, our representatives will take action in order to unlock the necessary resources for those young people and youth organisations who are willing to be active, who have projects, who have ideas, who take part in democratic processes, and therefore invest in the future of these young people.
Visit the website of the new campaign of the European Youth Forum: LoveYouthFuture
Written by Lucille Rieux