If you are young and read the new EU 2020 strategy you will be surprised. Not in a good way. And the question you will think about is: Where? Where is the youth mentioned?
The EU 2020 sets out to improve performance of higher education institutions and to raise the quality of education by promoting student mobility and providing easier entry for students to the labour market. That is the definition given by the Commission for the basics of the initiative, which is also implemented in its title – ‘Youth on the Move”. Well, it isn’t the ‘move’ which is missing in current initiatives like Erasmus and Youth in Action. Hopefully the goals of the new programme will not diminish, but spread the success of the good (though controversial) practices preceding it.
At the first sight Youth on the Move sounds very nice, but if you are going deeper you discover not so nice things. Not only that the name is already taken, it will be probably just another exclusive programme for high-educated youth. But are you expecting from a commissioner of youth, whose priorities doesn’t mention youth, something else? For Androulla Vassiliou (Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) everything is right. [”I’m pleased to say that education and youth figure prominently in ‘Europe 2020’ […] When I read this the first thing what came to my mind was: she has certainly a total different EU 2020 strategy.
But what do young people, the target of this initiative, think about it? The European Youth Forum (YFJ) has pointed out that the draft is incomplete and needs further developing. Which, shadowed by supposedly more urgent issues like the economical crisis in Greece, wasn’t in the agenda on the March summit. Other criticism stems from the fact that the initiative is exclusively about higher education and not education in general. There is a widespread concern that the focus is on creating cheap workforce rather than on cultivating individuals. Also, there seems to be a lack of will of the Member States for setting common goals in the field of education.
It is a question of recognizing. Who is recognizing the youth of Europe? For example: who knows the “EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering”You know it? If yes, you are probably in a youth organisation. If not, you are in the majority. But that we have to change. It is THE paper which tackles with youth issues and it’s valid from 2010 to 2018. Nine years and nobody knows it.
In order to succeed and really make a difference, the Commission’s YOTM initiative should set more ambitious but measurable goals that take in account the current situation as well as the point of view of youth organizations. While it has tried to address thoroughly an important issue the YOTM initiative is far from being the perfect plan. We have to change Europe and make it aware of the youth and its needs. We the Youth of Europe are not willing to stay quiet anymore. We have to be recognised. NOW! For more information, see: