Youth Policies in the EU

The goal of the EU’s policy in the area of youth is that young people must take active part in democratic life in Europe. It is important that the young are listened to before political decisions are taken that affect them. Therefore, the EU supports cross-border voluntary youth activities.

During the Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU, there is one dossier on the youth area which will dominate the work of the Council. Below you can read more about this issue and the EU's youth policy.

The EU framework programme for education and youth

As part of the EU budget for 2014-2020, a new programme for Education and Training and Youth is to be adopted. The current programmes which include the Lifelong Learning Programme and Youth in Action will expire by the end of 2013.  They support i.a. individual learning mobility and transnational youth cooperation for the benefit of students, educational institutions and voluntary youth organisations.

It is the aim of the Danish Presidency to reach partial political agreement among the Member States on the shape of the new programme. However, the final version of the programme and the funding will not be ready until 2013 pending the adoption of the EU’s overall budget.

EU youth strategy
The framework for European cooperation in the area of youth policy during the period from 2010 to 2018 was adopted by the EU’s ministers for youth in November 2009.

Up to 2018, the European Union will initiate and support two types of initiatives in line with the EU programme for youth - “Youth in Action”:

  • Initiatives, specifically directed at young people in areas such as non-formal learning, participation and voluntary service, work among young people and information.
  • Initiatives in the following eight areas: 
    1. Education
    2. Employment and entrepreneurship
    3. Health and well-being
    4. Participation
    5. Voluntary work
    6. Social inclusion
    7. Creativity and culture
    8. Youth in the World

Furthermore, a more systematic and structured dialogue with young people and their organisations has been introduced in regard to the implementation efforts in the various policy areas, e.g. initiatives to combat youth unemployment in Europe.

Dialogue with young Europeans
It is important to hear young people before political decisions significant to them are made. For instance, increasing youth unemployment in the European countries has made it necessary to think of new ways of getting young people into jobs.

The best way to do this is in a close dialogue with young people and their organisations. The Danish Government’s youth action plan, the so-called “Ungepakke”, is a good example of national initiatives. The youth action plan is an inter-ministerial initiative aimed at getting young people into education or jobs. Other ways to enhance dialogue with the young at European level are by formulating consultation questions in a straightforward language. Furthermore, social media should be used when relevant to facilitate dialogue with young Europeans.

How the work is done
The work towards ensuring dialogue with young Europeans is coordinated by a European Steering Committee. Nationally, the work takes place in various committees in the Member States. In Denmark, Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd (DUF) - The Danish Youth Council – is Chairman and secretariat for a group of ten members.