On May 3rd, 2019, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Mr Thorbjorn Jagland, has officially announced his contingency plan to overcome the persisting financial difficulties that the Council has been facing since 2017. One of the proposals of his plan is to stop funding the Council’s Youth sector and dissolve it in its entirety. The Western Balkans Alumni Association emphasizes that such suggestion completely undermines the successes and democratic tools this sector has developed to ensure youth participation.
The significance of the Youth sector is multi-faceted. This body has contributed to the overall protection of youth rights and development of youth work and policies across our continent in the previous decades. The programmes of this sector have allowed thousands of young people from all 47 Member States to take part in numerous opportunities in relation to combat against hate speech, peace-building, human rights education and education for democratic citizenship. Thousands of youth organizations from Europe have received funding from the Council’s European Youth Foundation (EYF) hence empowering young people to be active citizens, young multipliers, peace-builders, leaders and change-makers. Two European Youth Centres, in Budapest and Strasbourg, are considered unique places in Europe where young people meet and exchange ideas and experiences.
WBAA strongly opposes the proposed plan bearing in mind the catastrophic consequences that such action would bring to daylight. We firmly believe that by abolishing the funding for the Council’s Youth sector, this Organization disregards the years of hard work carried out by thousands of European youth.
Moreover, we would like to underline that young people from the Western Balkans region have taken part in Youth sector’s activities on many occasions, thus in discussions with youth policy makers and civil society organizations and influencing measures that are being enforced in our region as well. We want to highlight that young people bear an enormous potential and cannot be marginalized in democratic development, nor social and economic prosperity of our region. Young people ought to play a crucial role in decision-making and policy implementation on European level, through structures such as the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe.
Therefore, WBAA is calling on the Council of Europe and its Permanent Representatives of the Western Balkans countries to safeguard the statutory bodies of the Youth sector and the instruments at the service of young Europeans. Member states must defend young people’s rights by allowing the existing co-management structures to continue their work without disproportionate budget cuts that only diminish the value of youth organizations and young individuals across Europe.
#NoFutureWithoutYouth #NoEuropeWithoutYouth #YouthCoe #WBAA
For more information, please read the Advisory Council on Youth’s info sheet.
WBAA Community Manager
WBAA Regional Board