European Youth Forum - Youth Policy Watch
Youth Policy Watch Issue 55 - Tuesday, 29 May, 2012
Editorial

Dear readers,

In this issue of Youth Policy Watch, read about the recently finalised Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers. Also in this issue, read about the European Parliament’s call for increased investment in a Youth Guarantee, how austerity policies are affecting vulnerable social groups and the recent meeting on Africa-Europe Cooperation.

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 press@youthforum.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 subscriptionypw@youthforum.org.

The European Youth Forum

Youth Intergroup Discusses How to Improve Internships and Apprentices

More and more young people are completing internships that may be of dubious quality, with 75 percent of trainees gaining no remuneration for their endeavours. With this in mind, the Youth Intergroup of the European Parliament hosted a Roundtable on Internships and Apprenticeships to discuss the urgent need for quality standards. The message from the roundtable was that business and social partner involvement in the issue is vital to improve the quality of placements.

// Top Story
European Charter for the Rights of Volunteers Finalised

Over 100 million people in Europe are volunteers and 4 out of 5 European citizens see volunteering as an active part of democratic life in Europe. Most European countries however, lack a legal framework for safe and sustainable volunteering. In line with the important role that volunteers play in Europe, a Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers has been finalised by the volunteering Working Group, following consultation with a wide-range of partners, other stakeholders and volunteers themselves.

// Top Story
Young People Risk Becoming Unskilled and Unemployable

75 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are excluded from the labour market globally. Furthermore, the number of young unemployed people has increased by four million in the past five years. In the short-term this desperate youth employment crisis is unlikely to improve until 2016, according to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

// Employment & Social Affairs
OECD Strategy Aims at Boosting Skills for Jobs and Growth

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published a new Skills Strategy to boost jobs and growth. The strategy calls or investment in education and skills to be prioritised in OECD Member States. Among its recommendations, it underlines the necessity to improve the quality of learning outcomes by focusing on the skills-oriented learning first instead of qualifications-focused education.

// Employment & Social Affairs
A Southern Approach to Youth Employment

Southern European countries are seeing catastrophic levels of youth unemployment due to the implementation of austerity measures in Spain, Portugal and Greece among others. The youth unemployment rate in these countries is well above the EU average of 22.6 percent. March figures showed 51.1 percent of young people in Spain are unemployed, which increased by 10.1 percent from 2011. In Portugal, youth unemployment increased by almost five percent during the same period, to 35 percent.

// Employment & Social Affairs
European Parliament Calls for More Funds for a Youth Guarantee

7.5 million young people aged from 15 to 24 years are current not in education, employment or training (NEETS) and are failing to fulfill their education potential or obtain the skills they need for employment. The harmful effects of the European financial crisis has led to a 50 percent increase in the rate of youth unemployment across Europe from 2008 to 2011. In response to these figures, the European Commission has proposed a youth guarantee scheme to guarantee employment or training to NEETS within four months of them leaving school.

// Employment & Social Affairs
Social Innovation for Active Inclusion: What can Lifelong Learning Do?

The contribution of lifelong learning to social innovation for an active inclusive society was discussed at a recent conference in Leuven. The workshops, taking place during the conference, focused on the themes of access and participation, the challenges and opportunities facing migrants, prospects for intergeneration learning and youth unemployment alleviation with regard to education and training systems. The annual event was hosted by the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) and took place on 14th May in Belgium.

// Education
Austerity Policies Hits Societies’ Most Vulnerable

Three months after EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso deployed action teams to Member states with the highest levels of youth unemployment, concern is being voiced that not enough is being done to protect the poorest groups in society. A recent report by the group Social Justice Ireland found that more than 700,000 citizens are living in poverty, a 13 percent increase from two years ago. In Greece, many of those in the labour market are being forced to work for a salary of 300 or 400 euro per month.

// Human Rights
LGBTI Discrimination on the Rise in Some European Countries

The United Kingdom has been named the country in which LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) people possess the widest and fullest rights. The UK pipped the post ahead of Germany, Spain, Sweden and Belgium. The worst countries for LGBTI rights are Moldova, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine. These countries do not meet the basic requirements or guarantee minimum human rights for LGBTI people. This is according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association Europe’s Annual Review 2011 on the human rights situation of LGBTI people on Europe.

// Human Rights
Who will be European Youth Capital 2015?

Twelve cities in Europe are vying to be selected for the European Youth Capital 2015. Since the 1st May application deadline passed, the jury have been in online consultation to decide which cities will be shortlisted. The candidate cities for 2015 are Lecce (Italy), Badajoz (Spain), La Laguna (Spain), Ivanovo (Russia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Varna (Bulgaria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Perm (Russia), Tbilisi (Georgia), Katowice (Poland), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Ganja (Azerbaijan).

// Participation & Youth Policy Mainstreaming
Braga hosts Events for Increased Africa-Europe Cooperation

On 26th May approximately 25 youth leaders and institutional representatives from Africa, Europe and the African youth diaspora of Europe, came together to share their actions on the development of the Africa-Europe youth dialogue and cooperation framework.

// Youth Work Development