This week in Youth Policy Watch, read about new developments at the Council of Europe, where youth and policy-makers gathered to discuss recent reforms to the institution, youth participation, as well as the rights of young people in Europe. Also in this edition, the UN announces a new 'high-level youth meeting' to be held in July, and Serbia welcomes its first national youth council.
The European Youth Forum hopes that you enjoy reading this new edition of Youth Policy Watch and, as always, please feel free to send us any comments you have on the publication to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you wish to subscribe to Youth Policy Watch and have it delivered directly to your inbox every two weeks, please send an email to email@example.com .
Council of Europe meets with youth representatives
On 14-16th March, the Council of Europe (CoE) hosted new meetings of the Joint Council on Youth and the Advisory Council on Youth in Strasbourg. The meetings saw representatives from youth NGOs meet with government officials to decide upon youth sector priorities, as well as make recommendations for future budgets and programmes. Up for discussion were recent reforms to the CoE, youth participation and the rights of young people in Europe. Proposals made will now be adopted by the Committee of Ministers, the CoE's decision-making body.
Commission puts faith in 'social innovation' to tackle crisis
The European Commission is encouraging civil society groups and so-called 'social entrepreneurs' to participate in a new EU-wide initiative to promote new approaches in the provision of public services. “Social innovation is about tapping into the creativity of charities, associations and social entrepreneurs to find new ways of meeting pressing social needs, which are not adequately met by the market or the public sector and are directed towards vulnerable groups in society”, said José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
Young entrepreneurs line up for EU exchange scheme
More than 2,000 young people have applied to the EU's 'Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs' (EYE) scheme, a programme that the European Commission hopes will replicate the success of the student exchange programme. However, only 600 have managed to find a placement so far, highlighting a considerable mismatch between supply and demand.
The Bologna Follow Up Group, which met on 17-18th March in Godollo in Hungary, failed to re-invigorate the Bologna Process, according to the European Student's Union (ESU). The group is composed of representatives of the forty-seven countries belonging to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and international organisations such as the European Commission, Council of Europe and ESU.
ENAR publishes new report on racial discrimination
On Monday 21st March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the European Network against Racism (ENAR) unveiled a new report on discrimination and exclusion suffered by ethnic and religious minorities in Europe. The report argues that racism remains a deep-rooted problem in a broad range of areas such as employment, housing, education, health, policing, access to good and services, and the media.
On 15th March, the UN General Assembly decided to hold a two-day high-level meeting on youth on 25-26th July at its headquarters in New York. The event will be based on the overarching theme of dialogue and mutual understanding, and will aim to result in a concise action-orientated outcome document. Plenary meetings and roundtables will focus on strengthening youth cooperation on issues such as social integration, poverty eradication and sustainable development.
New study on the uses of youth indicators in EU member states released
On behalf of the European Commission DG Education and Culture, the consultancy company ECORYS has conducted a study on how indicators are being used in policy fields related to youth in EU Member States. The study is a reaction to the European Commission's 2009 communication 'An EU strategy for Youth - Investing and Empowering: a renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities'.
Serbia's first national youth council - Krovna Organizacija Mladih Srbije, or KOMS - came into being at a ceremony in Belgrade on 10-13th March. State Secretary for Youth, Ivana Kovačević, welcomed the founding of the nation-wide platform and stated the organisation would be a “relevant partner” in policy-making. Kovačević noted that there had been a huge growth of the youth NGO sector in recent years: “in 2007, only five youth offices existed and at this moment we already have 116 of them”.