2022 is the European Year of Youth
In her State of the Union address in September 2021, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, made known her proposal to declare 2022 the European Year of Youth. The suggestion had in mind a possible remedy for the extensive negative effects of the pandemic on young people: fewer work opportunities, disrupted studies, and challenges for mental health. In December, the proposal was accepted by the European Parliament and the Council.
According to the European Commission, the European Year of Youth wishes to encourage and support young people to become more engaged with democratic processes and more influential in the next decades. For this purpose, several European initiatives and directives are connected with the European Year: NextGenerationEU, the Conference on the Future of Europe, Erasmus+, European Solidarity Corps, the EU’s Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative. Youth priorities will have a more central place in EU policies, while the framework of the European Year of Youth will engage young people in important consultation events and processes, through conferences, campaigns, studies and research on their situation.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas addressed the European youth: “2022 will be a year dedicated to all young Europeans. A year during which the voice of all Europe’s youth will be heard. It will be a chance to you to learn, to travel, to discover other cultures, to share your own and make long lasting relationships across Europe. It will be a year full of opportunities, both home and abroad. You should grasp these opportunities.” Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said: “The European Year of Youth should bring a paradigm shift in how we include young people in policy and decision-making. The objectives of the Year are to listen, engage and promote concrete opportunities for youth. We also need to bridge the gap between generations.”
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