Youth | Science | Society

Today, young people across Europe and the Western Balkans are facing diverse challenges and youth work in all its forms can serve as a catalyst for empowerment. The Western Balkans and the EU moreover share a demographic issue, albeit in a different sense: on the one hand, the so-called “brain drain” of highly skilled workers damages the economies and societies in the WBs, while on the other hand, the EU is facing an increased ageing of the population.

Through its policies, the EU aims to give young people more equal opportunities in education and the job market, and to make sure they can participate fully in all areas of society. This is achieved through various means, notably by engaging in dialogue with young people and by fostering exchange, participation and skills development.

The EU Youth Strategy represents the framework for EU youth policy cooperation 2019 – 2027. The EU Youth Strategy focuses on three core areas of action around the three words:

  • Engage: The EU Youth Strategy aims towards a meaningful civic, economic, social, cultural and political participation of young people.
  • Connect: Young people in Europe are getting more and more connected. Relations, connections, and exchange of experience are a pivotal asset for solidarity and the future development of the European Union. This connection is best fostered through different forms of mobility.
  • Empower: Empowerment of young people means encouraging them to take charge of their own lives.

The EU Youth Strategy is based on several instruments, such as mutual learning activities, Future National Activities Planners, the EU Youth Dialogue, the EU Youth Strategy Platform, and evidence-based tools.

The year 2021 marked the beginning of the new seven-year cycle of the EU programmes in the field of youth, namely the Erasmus+ Programme, youth chapter, and the European Solidarity Corps. The new Programmes are built on the achievements and good practices, but are also introducing new opportunities for young people and organisations working with them, for the development of youth work and European cooperation. Both Programmes emphasise the international dimension, providing opportunities also for young people and actors in the field of youth in the Programme’s Partner countries.

2022 was proclaimed the European Year of Youth (EYY 2022) by the European Parliament and the Council, in order to Renewing the positive perspectives for young people, while highlighting how the green and digital transitions and other Union policies offer opportunities for young people. Tirana is the European Youth Capital for 2022. Under the slogan "Activate Youth", the city put in place a rich programme, featuring more than 100 events aiming at promoting volunteerism, empowering youth organisations, and creating networks and synergies among young people from all over Europe.


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