Youth policy topics
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 future of the Council of Europe youth policy: AGENDA 2020, and by Resolution CM/Res(2008)23 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 25 November 2008.
“Agenda 2020” first set down the three main themes that European youth policy would address as priorities up to 2020: human rights and democracy; the promotion of cultural diversity; and social inclusion. In each of these three dimensions, a set of six specific topics (with several subject areas) are defined in more detail with a full range of activities. It is in this context that the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) officially adopted their self-assessment tool for the development of youth policy. The tool was developed to help member States to self-assess their compliance with the Council of Europe’s standards for youth policy, and to serve as a basis for self-paced youth policy development.
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:
- Education and learning
- Gender equality
- Hate speech, extremism and radicalisation leading to violence
- Health and wellbeing
- Information and constructive dialogue
- Rights, inclusion and participation of young refugees
- Young people in rural areas
- Youth organisations and youth programmes
- Youth spaces and participation
- Youth work policy
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.
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 Res(2003)7 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe
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
How can policies enable young people to be active citizens? How can they support young people to be included in society and to realise their aspirations and potential? This overview of the main concepts, principles, and challenges of youth policy is meant to help answer these questions.
A word of caution: youth policy is complex. We invite the reader to consider their own context, which may be more complex and even more complicated! Much more has been written, discussed and debated on youth policy than is included in this document, so if your journey brought you here, we hope it will not stop here! We invite you to continue using the references included in these “essentials” and our website.