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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article7 December 2021Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Commission welcomes the political agreement on the European Year of Youth

European Year of Youth

The Commission welcomes the political agreement reached yesterday evening by the European Parliament and the Council to make 2022 the European Year of Youth. Following the announcement by President von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address that 2022 should be a year dedicated to those who have dedicated so much to others, the Commission submitted in October its formal proposal to designate 2022 the European Year of Youth to the co-legislators.

The Commission will coordinate throughout 2022 a range of activities in close contact with the European Parliament, the Member States, regional and local authorities, youth organisations and young people themselves. The initiatives being developed under the European Year of Youth will be supported by €8 million from Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, the European Year of Youth dedicated top-up decided by the budgetary authority for 2022. Other Union programmes and instruments will also significantly contribute to the objectives and activities of the Year. Young Europeans will benefit from many opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and competences for their professional development, and to strengthen their civic engagement to shape Europe's future.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said: “This agreement is a key building block in our policy for the youth. The budget dedicated to this European Year will support our flagship actions. With 2022 European Year of Youth, we are supporting young Europeans to defend and promote freedom, values, opportunities and solidarity. We owe it to the generations who suffered most in the pandemic and now need to take back their lives.”

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said: "I thank the co-legislators for having found an agreement on the European Year of Youth in a record time. We all understand the importance of putting young people in the spotlight and celebrate their resilience after two very challenging years. I invite all young Europeans to participate in the numerous engagements, initiatives and actions that we will launch as from January 2022. We want to make their voice heard and to inform the decisions we will take for their future. We want this Year to lead into concrete actions that will last well beyond 2022. Together, we will make this Year a success.”

To honour, support and engage with young people at all levels, the European Year of Youth will pursue four objectives:

  • Renewing the positive perspectives for young people, with a particular focus on the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on them, while highlighting how the green and digital transitions and other Union policies offer opportunities for young people and for the society at large;
  • Supporting young people, including through youth work, especially young people with fewer opportunities, from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds or belonging to vulnerable and marginalised groups, to acquire relevant knowledge and competences and thus become active and engaged citizens, inspired by a European sense of belonging;
  • Supporting young people to acquire a better understanding of, and actively promoting the various opportunities available to them, be it from the EU, national, regional or local level, to support their personal, social, economic and professional development.
  • Mainstreaming youth policy across all relevant Union policy fields in line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019 – 2027 to encourage that a youth perspective is brought into policy-making at all levels.

The impact and legacy of all activities and engagement opportunities should be long-lasting, beyond 2022. While existing EU programmes dedicated to youth, like Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, will obviously play a central role in the implementation and funding of the activities, the European Year of Youth aims at being cross-sectoral and building on all EU policies.

Several flagship initiatives from across several policy areas are expected to be launched during the European Year. This includes for example ALMA, a new initiative to help young people who are not in employment, education or training to find their way to the job market by combining support for education, vocational training or employment in their home country with a work placement in another EU country. The European Year of Youth will also go hand in hand with NextGenerationEU, which reopens perspectives for young people, including quality jobs and education and training opportunities for the Europe of the future, and supports young people's participation in society.

When launching its proposal, the Commission had invited Member States to appoint a national coordinator responsible for organising the national participation in the European Year of Youth. The Commission held a first meeting on 16 November to exchange information regarding its implementation.

For the Year of Youth to be a success, it is important to shape it together with the people who will benefit the most from it. Young people and youth organisations are also closely involved in the organisation of the Year. An online survey was opened from 22 October to 21 November to gather expectations and suggestions. A report on the survey shows that close to 5,000 replies were received from all Member States. A majority of respondents (58.8%) said that they would like to actively contribute to the European Year of Youth.

The Year will also be linked Conference on the future of Europe, where young people play a pivotal role. One-third of each of the European Citizens' Panels is made up of young people, from 16-25 years, and an equal proportion of young people are among the Panel ambassadors', who relay recommendations to Conference Plenaries and discuss with MEPs, national politicians, Commissioners, and other plenary members from EU bodies and civil society. The President of the European Youth Forum is also a member of the Conference Plenary.

Next Steps

The political agreement reached by the European Parliament, Council and Commission is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council.

The European year of Youth is planned to be launched in January under the French Presidency.

The full programme of activities and further information will be available on the Youth Portal

By the end of 2023, the Commission will submit a report on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the initiatives, which shall also include ideas for further common endeavours in the field of youth to cement the legacy of the Year.

For More Information

Commission proposal for the European Year of Youth

European Youth Portal

Online survey report

Details