Minister to highlight proposals on youth employment to EU Council President Van Rompuy ahead of next months EU Leaders Summit
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today (Thursday 16th May) welcomed the agreement reached by the EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels on two new EU policy positions including a set of concrete measures aimed at raising the profile of quality youth work at EU level and mainstreaming youth policy into broader EU policy initiatives on education, employment and training.
Minister Fitzgerald welcomed the Council agreement stating that "during Ireland's Presidency of EU Council of Youth Ministers we have led an ambitious policy agenda which I am happy were unanimously agreed today."
Ensuring greater positioning of youth policy within the Europe 2020 agenda will mean that it can deliver on and contribute to policy objectives which have real and meaningful outcomes for our young people, in particular when it come to supporting youth employment.
Todays 's Council of Ministers meeting, which was chaired by Minister Fitzgerald, formally adopted 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.
These conclusions include a concrete set of measures 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. These include:
- Establishing a new EU working group on quality youth work
- Strengthening the working relationship between the Council of Youth Ministers and other Council of Minister configurations
- Mainstreaming youth policy input into the European Semester reporting process
- Recognition of centrality of youth work in contributing to the Europe 2020 growth and jobs agenda
- Recognition of the role of youth work in implementing the proposed Youth Guarantee
- Greater coordination between EU youth policy and education, training and employment policies
The Minister stated: "Europe 2020 is the EU's flagship strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Ensuring greater positioning of youth policy within the Europe 2020 agenda will mean that it can deliver on and contribute to policy objectives which have real and meaningful outcomes for our young people, in particular when it come to supporting youth employment."
"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
"Ahead of next months EU Leaders Summit, I will report to EU Council President Van Rompuy on proposals to support employability of NEET's cohort and I hope our agreed positions will support the €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative proposed by EU leaders."
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.
Minister Fitzgerald, welcomed Ms. Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth to the Council meeting and emphasised the clear benefit of EU Member States and Institutions working together to further the youth agenda.
The meeting also heard 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.
Minister Fitzgerald concluded: "The Irish Presidency has achieved a great deal in agreeing today's youth policy conclusions as well as finalising the Youth Guarantee and on working to conclude the new EU budget for youth initiatives, but if youth policy is to succeed our ambitions must stretch even further. The Irish Presidency of the EU Youth Council had created a significant legacy.