Young people from the EU and its Eastern Partners make their voices heard on how to shape the future youth policies
June 27, 2017
300 young leaders, youth workers and youth policy makers from the EU member states and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine worked together over two days at the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Youth Forum in Warsaw from 22-23 June 2017.
Commissioner Hahn and Director General Reicherts addressed both the plenary and a group of Erasmus+ alumni, Erasmus+ students from Partner Countries studying in Warsaw and winners of the essay competition #EUaroundU. Both underlined the importance of youth as actors of change and the need to have a greater engagement with young people when designing youth policies and actions.
The main thematic focus was on participation and active citizenship of young people and their involvement in the decision making process. At the Forum’s workshops, the young activists developed concrete recommendations to the EU, its Member States and EaP Partner governments to help shape their future youth policies. The proposals will also inform the debate at the upcoming EaP Summit in Brussels on 24 November 2017.
The recommendations were developed around three main areas: 1) young people as active, critical and responsible citizens; 2) young people and entrepreneurship and 3) good quality education.
Under the first area, young people asked for the development of a youth-friendly approach to policy making, by: establishing a supportive environment for youth-led organisations and prioritising youth projects when allocating EU funds. They called for the European Solidarity Corps to be opened up for the EaP youth and for the establishment of the online alumni database of international volunteers.
Increased support to social entrepreneurship programmes was the central discussion point under the second area. The participants of the forum called for an international social entrepreneurship investment fund and stressed the need for more support systems for social enterprises. They invited the governments to provide incentives for young people to set up their own enterprises, reduce taxation, eliminate red tape and provide funding at a professional level for young entrepreneurs.
With regards the third area, young leaders asked policy makers to pay more attention to skills required to succeed in the modern labour market. Participants called for the establishment of a proper dialogue between relevant NGOs, schools, policy makers, experts of formal and non-formal education, in order to review the existing national education curricula, make improvements where necessary and create synergies between formal and non-formal education actors.
- The Eastern Partnership Youth Forum in Warsaw (http://www.eap-youth-forum.pl/) was the third conference dedicated to the issues that matter to the young people, organised in the margins of an Eastern Partnership Summit. The previous Eastern Partnership youth fora took place in Lithuania (2013) and Latvia (2015) focusing on social inclusion and employment issues.
- As part of the Erasmus+ programmes, to date more than 7,600 students and academic staff from the EaP countries will have received grants from the European Union to study and train in Europe; and more than 2,700 students and staff from the EU countries will have received grants for their mobility period in the EaP countries. Over 20,000 young people and youth workers from EaP countries have been involved in Erasmus+ non-formal education activities: mobility, youth exchanges, policy dialogue and civic engagement through the European Voluntary Service.
One of the newest EU-funded programmes in support to youth in the EaP countries is the EU4Youth Initiative, which makes available €20 million to foster active participation of young people in societies and their employability, by developing those skills that can support them in becoming leaders and entrepreneurs. As part of this support package, EU4Youth will provide €8 million worth of grants to support young people taking an active part in the political, social and economic life.
Students from Armenia selected under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) programme met last week at the European Union Delegation to the country, ahead of their departure to study in Europe. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, welcomed the students. During the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of embassies of EU Member States, Erasmus+ educational opportunities were presented, as well as the Erasmus Mundus Alumni experience exchange programme..
“We consider Erasmus+ as a very important part of our activity in Armenia. We hope that you will profit from this opportunity, come back to Armenia, and be able to put all you have learned into practice,” said Ambassador Świtalski as he congratulated the students.
The Armenian students selected under the EMJMD programme will have the opportunity to obtain an MA degree from a European university and receive a double European diploma.
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On the Importance of Critically Assessing the Situation in the Country
June 26, 2017
Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum expects from the authorities of the Republic of Armenia constructive approaches to the criticism of political processes, progress of reforms and the situation in the fields of democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, in recent months we have witnessed a number of times a declinatory attitude towards such criticism. In particular, we find unacceptable the sharply negative reaction of the RA officials to assessments of the representatives of the Armenian civil society and international institutions regarding the 2017 Parliamentary and Yerevan Council of Elders elections and in this context the invented accusations of “slandering” the state or “intervening in its domestic affairs”. Such manifestations are especially of concern in light of the initialing of Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Armenia.
We, the members of EaP CSF Armenian National Platform, are convinced that the deepening of relations with the European Union implies that both sides should in principle reassess the partnership achievements in all dimensions. The combination of rigorous self-assessment of both the RA authorities, and the country’s civil society and expert community and the candid assessments and critical view of the EU representatives can only bring momentum and efficiency to the course of reforms, giving an opportunity to fully benefit from the financial and moral support provided by our partners.
Thus, we call on the Armenian authorities to reject the attempts of limiting the open discussion on issues of certain concern and to contribute to an independent and impartial analysis of all the initiatives and projects comprising the RA-EU cooperation agenda, as well as to the development of monitoring mechanisms.