Eastern Partnership Youth Engagement Summit – 2020
Green Cross Ukraine took part in the first ever virtual Eastern Partnership Youth Engagement Summit on 2-3 July. The main thematic focus was “Youth engagement in the EaP: exploring the present and navigating the future!” The Summit took place in a fully virtual format. Such a format has been chosen due to the COVID-19 global pandemic in order to safeguard the health of participants and organisers. The EaP Youth Engagement Summit was a globally accessible meeting for registered participants, with speakers, organisers and attendees scattered across dozens of locations across Europe while being connected via a video-conferencing tool and social media. Active, critical and responsible youth leaders and youth workers will have a unique opportunity to hold a dialogue amongst themselves and with EU and EaP policy makers.
Improving prospects for youth is at the heart of cooperation within the Eastern Partnership. Together with the six partner countries, the European Union aims to create further opportunities for young people to study, work, participate fully in society and fulfil their potential.
2020 is an important year for the Eastern Partnership process. On the one hand, it is a conclusive year for implementing the “20 Deliverables by 2020” policy priorities. On the other hand, it is the year when a new policy framework of the EU will pave the way to a new set of common objectives for the future Eastern Partnership process.
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi commented: “Empowering young people from the region is and will remain a priority for the EU - investing in youth is always the best investment. We will be launching a new deal for youth, where we will work together with the governments to ensure the skills the labour market needs. This will make youth competitive globally and allow them to find high quality jobs also regionally.”
Today, the European Commission is taking action to give young people all possible opportunities to develop their full potential to shape the future of the EU, and thrive in the green and digital transitions. The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the often difficult start many young people face in the labour market. The Youth Employment Support package is built around four strands that together provide a bridge to jobs for the next generation. The aim is to make our systems more resilient for the future and boost employment by acting on all fronts: reinforcing the Youth Guarantee, future-proofing the EU's vocational education and training (VET), renewing the impetus for apprenticeships, as well as additional measures to support youth employment. The Commission also presents today the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience. Its actions focus on skills for jobs by partnering up with Member States, companies and social partners to work together for change, by empowering people to embark on lifelong learning, and by using the EU budget as a catalyst to unlock public and private investment in people's skills. New Deal for Youth will keep EU investment in youth in the focus of the EaP.
The main topics of the EaP Youth Summit included:
- The Eastern Partnership beyond 2020 and the role for young people
- COVID-19: challenges and responsibilities towards young people;
- Youth participation in policy making through strengthening EaP Youth Councils and the EaP CSF;
- Youth transition from education to work through skills development;
- Youth social entrepreneurship realities and good practices;
- EU vs. disinformation through positive communication;
- Achievements under the EU4Youth package, with focus on Erasmus+ and EU4Youth.
The two-day programme included panel discussions, presentations, webinars and parallel group discussions, with the aim of harvesting conclusions for building future opportunities for young people in the Eastern partner countries. The Summit brought together over 400 active youth leaders and youth workers from the Eastern Partnership region, mainly participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. They all have been invited to share good practices and experiences in the field of youth work and youth policy and discuss their vision of the future of the EaP.
All participants were addressed by Commissioner for Neighbourhood and EU politicians presented their reports on achievements and challenges in the youth sphere both in the European Union and its Eastern Neighbourhood region, other representatives of ministries and departments from Germany, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Slovenia, Ukraine shared their achievements and advanced experience in youth work and youth policy. The participants were able to conduct a dialogue among themselves and formulate important principles and new approaches in working with youth. We also think that it is important to launch a Youth Dialogue, actively involve young people in economic dimension and the political environment, taking into account their opinions and consultations in the decision-making process.
The results of discussions and possible outcomes will be documented in the form of a report and will soon be brought to the attention of stakeholders, including through the GCU website.
GCU Project Coordinator
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