The reaction of Youth for Exchange and Understanding regarding the proposal for the complete dismantlement of the Council of Europe’s Youth Department
On Friday (03.05.2019), the Council of Europe’s current Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland proposed the complete dismantlement of the Council of Europe’s youth sector.
“Should it be required to implement the contingency plan, the Secretary-General considers it necessary to lessen this impact across sectors and preserve the Council of Europe’s leading role in key areas of its work. He, therefore, proposes to end the financing of the Organisation’s youth sector activities from the Ordinary Budget as of 1 January 2021 and to set up a new enlarged partial agreement on Youth. This would provide a possibility to continue with part or all current activities, as well as an opportunity for increased financial support from the European Union.”
Partial agreements are known to function on the basis of voluntary participation and voluntary contributions, therefore they do not systematically oblige member states to part-take in youth-related matters. This will in practice mean that the impact of the budget cuts on the structure of the Youth Department would be irreversible.
This suggested replacement—voluntary cooperation among
YEU believes that such a contingency plan decision should only be made after a new Secretary-General has been elected and start their new mandate in October 2019. We also believe that any decision should be made with dialogue and the full participation of young people - the Council of Europe is unique in the world for promoting youth participation at Governmental level with the Advisory Council on Youth, surely this is the most important time for the Council of Europe to
Through the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, many local and international
YEU has cooperated with the Youth Department of Council of Europe and European Youth Foundation since our very beginnings in the
Only in the last 5 years, with the support of the Youth Department, YEU has engaged and trained directly more than 600 young people from across Europe no matter their background, built their capacities in democracy, human rights and rule of law, and raised awareness of the Council of Europe.
The Youth Department of the Council of Europe gave us opportunities to be creative, think outside of the box, experiment and make the impossible happen.
Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, we would not be able to build capacities of hundreds of young people to become active citizens, trainers, facilitators, researchers, change makers and agenda setters in their communities, countries and in Europe. The Youth Department with us and hundreds of other organizations have been responsible for and supported the development of numerous publications on youth work and non-formal education, on promoting the recognition of youth work and non-formal education, and on leading the way in youth work development - for example, the Youth Work Portfolio, the T-Kits, the Quality Label, peacebuilding, support to young refugees, the training and development of hundreds perhaps thousands of youth workers. The Youth Department is also
Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, we would not have raised the awareness among so many thousands of young people about hate speech because the Youth Department led one of the most successful campaigns in European history led by young people with the Youth Department - the No Hate Speech Movement.
Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, we would not have numerous education tools on social cohesion without the Youth Department. As YEU we have been able to create manuals on gender perspectives, on intercultural dialogue, on developing practices for counter-narratives in dealing with hate speech and bringing young people together from conflict regions.
Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, hundreds of young non-EU citizens wouldn’t have the opportunity to get involved.
Since 2011, YEU had a chance to be part of The Advisory Council on Youth and directly influence youth-related policies while being at the same table with the representatives of Governments. Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, we would never have this opportunity.
Countless numbers of young people have been part of study sessions and different programmes in European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest. The two European Youth Centers are quality examples for youth centers across Europe - leading the way with the Quality Label for which many 10’s of youth
Without the support of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, none of this would be possible.
All of this is being threatened to be cut. This will have a devastating impact on young people across Europe, for local, national and international youth
Therefore, we in YEU are asking:
What are the reasons to cut only the Youth Sector entirely?
The Advisory Council on Youth that consists of 30 youth
organisationscurrently plays a major role in associating the young generation in the dissemination of the values of the Council of Europe. What happens to the cutting edge structures that the Council of Europe has developed over the years?
What kind of implications will it have towards the European Youth Foundation which has supported youth activities and youth
organisationsall across Europe, and is very beneficial for the youth sector across Europe?
What will this mean about the opportunities for young people within the European Youth Centres (through the different activities organized directly by the Youth Department, and through the support for the youth organizations to have events in the youth
What kind of implications will it cause for the statutory bodies and the co-managed system which has been a unique body that represents real and meaningful participation that the Council of Europe promotes?
What is your position on this and what is the States position on this?
What actions do you envision in order to safeguard the youth sector?
Nami Isaki, YEU Vice-President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matej Manevski, YEU representative in
Tamara Gojkovic YEU Secretary General: email@example.com