Presidency to involve youth in decision-making

Source: Hongaars voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2011 i, published on Thursday, March 3 2011, 14:30.

Involving youth in decision-making and improving youth employment, were the focus of the Hungarian Presidency i’s most important event on youth policy. At the conference held in Gödöllo, on 2 March 2011, European youth held meetings with the directors-general of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and representatives of the European Commission.

At the opening of the EU Youth Conference and the Meeting of Directors-General, State Secretary for Social, Family, and Youth Affairs of the Ministry of National Resources, Miklós Soltész, stated, “Young people have countless recommendations to which we must pay attention to.” He highlighted that "Our task is to involve youth in the decision-making process”. During the eighteen months of the Spanish-Belgian-Hungarian Presidency i, the Trio set the goal of improving the employment situation for youths. The Spanish Presidency i first and foremost focused on less fortunate youth, while the Belgian Presidency worked on youth employment in poorer levels of society.

Miklós Soltész stated that Hungary wishes to move forward in achieving the Trio’s goals, by helping youth to take part in society and public life, and by supporting volunteering. He added that this latter point is especially topical, since the European Union declared 2011 the European Year of Volunteering.

Social security and family life

Soltész stressed that social security “must be created” for the young, and that work and family life must be made compatible. In particular, the State Secretary expressed his appreciation of the significance of the European Commission’s initiatives. As an example, Soltész mentioned the “Youth on the Move” programme, which offers young people a wider range of possibilities for studying abroad and working.

Director General for Education, Cultural, Sport and Youth Affairs, Jan Truszczynski, welcomed the Presidency’s goals and was of the opinion that, “All youth need to be reached, not just those in favourable situations.” The Commission’s representative said that, the “Erasmus i Programme” was especially important because “It provides hundreds of thousands of young people with the possibility to study in other countries of Europe.” Truszczynski also stood-up for providing incentives to develop “soft skills” that are not yet taught and learned, in the educational system. He took the view that young people have a greater need for these in order to improve their situation in the labour market.

This conference was attended by Chinese delegates, which was part of the EU-China Year of the Youth 2011 series of events. During the conference, President of the European Youth Forum, Peter Matjasic, presented the results obtained so far, in the dialogue between young people and decision-makers. He stressed that work must continue in order to reach completion.

The main goal of the conference was to prepare a closing document, on youth employment. During the time of the Hungarian Presidency, the Council of Ministers i for Youth Affairs will be shown this document in order for recommendations to be made at the highest levels, to improve the situation of young people.