Minister Miroslava Kopicová and the Commissioner Ján Figeľ at the press conference after the Council meeting.
The regular meeting of the Council of Ministers responsible for Education, Youth and Culture chaired by the Czech Presidency is taking place in Brussels on 11 - 12 May 2009. On Monday 11 May, the meeting was launched at a working lunch of Ministers responsible for Youth who had an informal exchange of views on the priorities which they propose for the next European cooperation framework. In the formal part taking place in the afternoon, the Ministers adopted the Conclusions on evaluation of the current framework for European cooperation in the youth field and on future perspectives for the renewed framework. Next, they discussed the instruments to be used under the future framework, and in particular the ways of ensuring more efficient linkage between the open method of coordination and the implementation of the adapted European Youth Pact.
"More specifically, we have to make cooperation in the youth field more coherent and efficient. We have to set targets clearly and agree to focus on a limited number of priorities. Our action should grow out of the knowledge of the current economic situation in Europe and in the world and take into account real needs of young people. What is at stake is their employability, social inclusion, obtaining skills and experience e.g. via volunteering. In this respect, it is important that young people themselves should be involved in creating policies that concern them. We have to address this issue seriously as soon as possible", said Minister Kopicová at the Council meeting.
The existing framework for cooperation was evaluated on the basis of wide-ranging consultations conducted by the European Commission also during the meeting of the Working Group for Youth. On the basis of these consultations, the Council was asked today to adopt the Conclusions. The Council recognised that it is necessary to strive for more opportunities for mutual learning and the exchange of good practices that constitute an integral part of the open method of coordination and of analyses carried out while this method is used.
On 27 April the European Commission published the communication "An EU Strategy for Youth - Investing and Empowering". The communication introduces a strategy for the youth in the EU for the next nine years (2010-2018), which aims at investing in young people and strenthening their role through creating more opportunities for the youth in education and employment, improving access and securing full participation of all young people in the society and fostering mutual solidarity between the society and young people. The communication also proposes eight fields of action for the first three years (2010-2012): Education, Employment, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Health and Sport, Participation, Social Inclusion, Volunteering, Youth and the World.
European youth currently faces a number of challenges, including the economic and financial crisis, as well as globalisation and new competitive pressures, demographic changes and their likely effects for intergenerational solidarity. Migration and diversity, development of knowledge society, challenges of democratic and civic participation, such are the issues that have been lately discussed. European cooperation in youth field therefore aims at helping young people cope with these challenges and improve quality of life and life standards of young women and men, using concrete political instruments and procedures and cooperating with other policy areas with the view of taking the issues concerning the youth more into account.
The Swedish Presidency will follow up the work of the Czech Presidency trying to reach agreement (Council Conclusions) on a new cooperation framework in the second half of 2009. In negotiating the conclusions, the Swedish Presidency will build up on the Commission Communication on the EU Strategy for Youth, published on 27 April 2009, at the same time using the results of the activities of the Czech Presidency (the current wording of the conclusions and the discussion at the Council meeting).
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Mgr. Tomáš Bouška
Spokesperson of the MEYS for CZ PRES
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