LYMEC Welcomes the Outcomes on the CoFoE
LYMEC Welcomes Outcomes on the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE)
On Europe Day (9 May), the final report following the Conference on the Future of Europe was published. The Conference on the Future of Europe began on 10 March 2021 and aimed to allow citizens to have their say on what the future of the EU should look like. The bottom-up citizens-focused approach was carried out across a variety of platforms, countries and languages. In conclusion, after more than a year, 49 proposals were agreed upon covering 9 areas; a stronger economy, social justice and jobs, Education, culture, youth and sport, digital transformation, European democracy; Values and rights, rule of law, security, Climate change; environment, Health; EU in the world and migration.
Education of young people has been a key priority for LYMEC and the CoFoE proposals greatly reflect this. The report included recommendations to improve competencies in sustainability, climate change, and environmental education as well as educating European citizens about healthy habits and lifestyles from an early age. LYMEC has constantly called for a mutual recognition of academic degrees across European countries and in the final report, calls have been made echoing this proposal. This is in order to promote the right to free movement across the Union as well as enhancing Erasmus+ and other exchange programmes. It has been suggested to introduce more Erasmus programmes for medical students and those studying life sciences. Voluntary and civic exchange programmes should also be recognised and fostered through ‘cultural passes’ and an expansion on the existing programmes such as the European Solidarity Corps.
LYMEC has written a resolution on the importance of mental health for European students and the final report includes reference to the creation of an EU Public Health Best Practice Portal to help to understand mental health issues and ways of addressing them from an early age. An EU Action Plan on Mental Health was suggested to be created with a European Year of Mental Health to be decided upon in the near future.
LYMEC has called for the EU to speak up about climate change, urging Member States to stick together in achieving common goals and creating a contingency plan. It is vital that ordinary citizens are informed of the impacts and consequences of global warming and climate change on our world. The report has proposed an increase in educational programmes focused on climate change and sustainability. An EU-wide platform is to be created offering all citizens easily accessible information about climate change and sustainable development along with many other topics in the hopes of reducing fake news and disinformation. The proposals recommend more cross-party dialogue on climate change to provide Europe’s clear approach to tackling climate change.
Ensuring adequate labour market protections for young people and providing them with accessible and equal access to the labour market are vital LYMEC priorities. We have run campaigns along with other youth parties, political parties, youth associations and organisations to ban unpaid internships. The CoFoE final report recommends banning unpaid internships through a legal instrument and ensuring young people’s internships and jobs are held to quality standards. Furthermore, it has been suggested to allow high school students to visit high-profile NGOs, businesses and other institutions to better prepare them for the working world.
A greater recognition and appreciation for European democracy has been a key subject throughout the negotiation on the CoFoE. Ensuring young people’s participation is not tokenistic and strengthening their voices within European democratic processes has been important to LYMEC, particularly given it is the European Year of Youth. National parties should ensure younger candidates are put forward to contest the European elections. Moreover, proposals have been put forward to introduce civic education surrounding the EU and its democratic processes to be introduced as a compulsory course for all educational institutions. Providing increased financial support to local authorities to establish youth Councils will also allow young people to get closer to Europe. An EU ‘Youth Test’ to ensure all legislation and policy is subject to a youth-focused impact assessment as well as including young people in consultation phases has been put forward. Citizen panels composed of school children and young people have been recommended to encourage greater participation and allow Europe to be seen through a youth lens. European representatives should pay visits to schools and education institutions to interact with future voters at a national level and bring Europe closer to young people.
LYMEC welcomes the proposals relating to young people outlined in the final report on the CoFoE. It is clear that some of our proposals have been listened to, showing positive signs that the voice of the youth has been somewhat considered and listened to. However, LYMEC still calls for a Convention on the Future of Europe according to Article 48 (3) TEU to be convened in the aftermath of the Conference, in order to implement said reforms and to lay the foundation for a European Constitution. We hope that these recommendations will not lay stagnant and that genuine progress will be made to further the youth voice in Europe. Implementation is key to deliver on the hopes of the European citizens, especially young Europeans.
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