Minister to chair EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels Council expected to agree Irish proposals on contribution of youth work in supporting the goals of the Europe 2020 agenda including youth employment
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will tomorrow (Thursday 16th May) chair a meeting of the EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels which is expected to agree new EU policy positions including a set of concrete measures aimed at mainstreaming youth policy into broader EU policy initiatives on education, employment and training.
During Ireland's Presidency of EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels we have sought to lead an ambitious policy agenda aimed at raising the profile of youth work at EU level and mainstreaming youth work into broader EU policy responses to youth employment and social inclusion.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Fitzgerald stated that "during Ireland's Presidency of EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels we have sought to lead an ambitious policy agenda aimed at raising the profile of youth work at EU level and mainstreaming youth work into broader EU policy responses to youth employment and social inclusion."
The Minister added: "Youth umemployment remains one of the biggest challenges facing the EU."
"There is growing recognition across Europe of the potential of youth work services to contribute to measures to enhance employability for young people, in particular those not engaged in education, employment or training - the so-called NEET's cohort. Youth work services already provide a significant level of engagement with this group, including through the valuable work with young people in disadvantaged communities. I believe Youth work services, may therefore be in a position to provide a value-added not readily-available to other employment and training programmes.
"The Irish Presidency has focused on the contribution of youth work in supporting the goals of the EU's Europe 2020 growth agenda and the potential to support measures as part of the proposed new ‘Youth Guarantee' initiative."
Next month, as part of the Ireland's EU Presidency, Minister Fitzgerald will host a high-level round-table conference of international experts in Castletown House, County Kildare to further examine the contribution youth work can make to youth employment
Tomorrow's Council of Ministers meeting will be asked to formally adopt two set of EU Council conclusions on:
- Maximising the potential of youth policy in addressing the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy
- Contribution of quality youth work to the development, well-being and social inclusion of young people
The Minister added: “There is a rich and robust infrastructure of youth organisations, programmes and groups throughout Europe which actively support the participation, development and progression of young people. I believe the EU can do more to raise the profile of this important sector and to support Europe's young people."
Tomorrow's Council meeting will note the outcomes and conclusions of the EU-wide structured dialogue process which consulted with over 11,000 young people, culminating in the EU Youth Conference hosted by Minister Fitzgerald in March, attended by over 270 young people and policy-makers. A video on this process prepared by the Young Irish Filmmakers will be shown to the Council of Ministers.
The meeting will also hear presentations from two experts in the youth field: Dr Massimiliano Mascherini, Research Manager, Eurofound, Dublin, Ireland; and Dr John Bamber, Centre for Effective Services, Dublin, Ireland, in relation to the current challenges European young people are facing and the possible solutions which youth work can offer. These presentations will informed the central question of the Ministerial debate which asked What immediate and practical actions can Youth Ministers take to harness the potential for quality youth work to better meet the present days challenges faced by Europe's young people?