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YEU at the EU Youth Dialogue Conference in Zagreb


The last Conference of the 7th cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue was held at Zagreb between 9th-12th March. Presidential Trio composed of Romania, Finland and Croatia which were responsible for this cycle, focused on three youth goals related to quality employment for all, quality youth work for all, and moving rural youth forward. The Conference which took place in Zagreb was titled: Opportunities for Rural Youth - How to Ensure the Sustainability of Rural Communities Across the EU” as part of the Croatian Presidency of Council of EU”

In the consultation process, 56,287 young people from all over the EU participated. Over 30000 responded to a survey conducted in the member states. 252 focused groups were organized in order to bring young people closer to the process.  34% of consulted people were aged between 19-25 years old. 

During these 3 days, participants from most of the member states countries discussed steps to be taken at the grassroots level and the European level in order to support rural youth. Meetings with policy decision-makers, ministries representatives, national youth councils and youth workers from international youth non-government organizations gave people a chance to exchange their views and experience.  Unfortunately, due to the current situation with an outbreak of Covid-19 virus around 30% of participants cancelled their participation. 

As the Conference in Zagreb was focused on rural youth it was more on how to engage them into youth work. What we as youth workers or people who know about opportunities for young people can do to reach them and empower them towards active participation.  

We discussed the major obstacles and methods to address these. Participants agreed that one of them is transport. Lack of solid roads and buses make youth excluded and locked in their areas. We also made a conclusion that young people who work as young farmers are still underestimated. The narrative regarding youth from rural areas and being a farmer should be changed and they should be treated more seriously. The final recommendations will be drafted and presented to the Council of the European Union which will then be addressed to European Institutions and member states. 

The next cycle is going to start in July 2020 and will last for 18 months. Following countries will lead the Presidency: Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. The first EU Youth Dialogue Conference of the 8th cycle is going to take place from 1st till 4th of July 2020 in Berlin. Most probably there will be some changes in the way how the process looks like. YEU will be following the process closely and participate in its improvement as much as possible. 

Katarzyna Sokolowska

YEU Project and Advocacy Officer

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YEU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727066