Although I will most likely meet you soon in person, I want to share with you news from Europe already now – last week the Council of the EU adopted the new EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. Just read how progressive it is and start thinking how we could move Australia to take that direction as well…
More than ever before, the new strategy has at its core the right and opportunities for all young people to meaningfully participate in decision-making processes - something I am, of course, immensely happy about! I had the opportunity to witness the process a little bit – it was a bloody hard yakka for 28 countries to agree on it but they did it!
It sets out three core priority areas for the youth sector: Engage (participation of young people in decisions in their daily lives as well as in democratic processes); Connect (fostering the mobility, cooperation and solidarity between young people in Europe); and Empower (recognising and promoting the role of youth work as a catalyst for empowerment) – almost looks like they copied it from the Vic Govt strategy!
The new Strategy is worth reading because it incorporates also the EU Youth Goals as its integral part - these 11 goals for the future were identified and shaped by tens of thousands of young people in Europe. Former Structured Dialogue with young people will also get an upgrade - the strategy provides guidelines for the renewed EU Youth Dialogue. And last but not least, the strategy clearly states that EU Youth Policy (and thus also youth participation) should be and already are rights-based - young people have a right to be treated as equals with all other age groups. Human rights link right there!
EU is currently also in the process of negotiating the new Erasmus and European Solidarity Corps programmes post 2020 and they will be very much implementing what is written in the Youth Strategy. Whilst negotiations are still underway re: the funding, the European Commission has proposed doubling the current budget, the Parliament wants 4x more money than in the current programme! It is pretty sure that there will be more opportunities and more money available post 2020, hopefully that will mean that the Victorian and Australian youth sectors can also benefit from it directly or indirectly through projects and initiatives where we could be partners.