The purpose of youth policy is to create conditions for learning, opportunity and experience, which ensure and enable young people to develop knowledge, skills and competences. This is in order to allow young people to be actors of democracy; integrate into society; and, in particular, enable them to play an active role in both civil society and the labour market.

The partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth promotes the idea and practice of participatory youth policy based on knowledge and aims at enhancing a dialogue within the youth sector between youth policy makers, researchers and practitioners (youth NGOs and other youth work providers), at times called a “magic” or “golden triangle".

 Key youth policy frameworks

The basis for youth policy in the Council of Europe is set in the document, the Youth sector strategy 2030, launched on 23 January 2020. The strategy will provide policy guidance and a broad political roadmap, or mission statement, for the period 2020-30, and will be the framework within which the next five biennial Youth for Democracy programmes will be implemented. The Youth sector strategy 2030 was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 22 January 2020 and is to be found in Committee of Ministers' Resolution (2020)2. An accompanying background document introduces the Strategy, putting it into the context of young people’s lives and of youth policy. In this document, you will find out more about the Council of Europe youth sector, as well as about the strategy's vision, mission, thematic priorities and expected outcomes. These priorities are revitalising pluralistic democracy; young people’s access to rights; living together in peaceful and inclusive societies; and youth work.

The basis for youth policy in the European Union is the Resolution of the Council of the European Union on the new EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. The strategy is expected to develop its cross-sectoral approach by addressing the needs of young people in other EU policy areas. The strategy includes the eleven Youth Goals, which are the result of the 6th cycle of the Structured Dialogue between the EU and young people. In 2017-2018, nearly 50,000 young people participated in the consultation process linked to this cycle. The Strategy aims to tackle core areas of the youth sector: Engage; Connect; and Empower.

Youth policy topics

This section of the website provides you with concise information about some key youth policy themes that we consider of special relevance in Europe.

This selection of themes was inspired by:

  • The most recent youth policy priorities in the field of youth of the Council of Europe and of the European Union derived from the key policy frameworks above, including the eleven Youth Goals, which represent views of young people from all over Europe on the themes that youth policy should address;
  • The work of the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth, with particular focus on the results of the Symposium 'Youth Policy Responses to the Contemporary Challenges Faced by Young People’, Prague, Czech Republic 12-14 June 2017

     

The resulting topics are:

Youth policy topics in this section are, therefore, strongly structured around what young people themselves identified as the most pressing issues affecting their lives in 2017 and 2018. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor does it cover all the thematic topics that can or should be addressed by youth policy, which by nature is rich, varied, and based on local, regional and national realities, priorities and needs of young people, policy makers and practitioners. Moreover, youth policy must be cross-sectoral, that is, taking into account and encompassing all pieces of policy concerning youth, in a holistic way.

 Recommended reading

Council of the European Union: Resolution on the new EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027

European Commission: EU youth report 2015

Council of Europe: Committee of Ministers Resolution (98) 6 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Resolution (2020)2 on the Council of Europe youth sector strategy 2030

Council of Europe: Recommendation No. R (92) 7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states concerning communication and co-operation in the field of youth research in Europe

Council of Europe: Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2008)23 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe: Self-assessment tool for youth policy