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The ‘Europe effect’: increased youth engagement

05.12.2013 - 16:30
Stack of hands

According to the European Commission, 150 000 young people and youth workers participate every year in more than 8000 pan-European projects in what is called the non-formal education sector. These can be protecting the environment in Greece, supporting disabled youth in Slovakia or creating a coding academy in France.

Working on concrete projects in multi-cultural environments helps young people in their personal development and careers. The participants themselves say so, and the figures are striking:

  • 91% consider that having participated in an exchange project has increased their competences in a foreign language;
  • 75% learned better how to identify opportunities for their personal or professional future;
  • 67% believe that their job chances have increased thanks to the project experience;
  • 90% consider as 'very true' or 'somewhat true' that participating in a project supported by Youth in Action increased their project management skills.

Working on concrete projects in multi-cultural environments helps young people in their personal development and careers

The positive effects of youth exchange programmes are not only limited to each participant. Up to 90% of participants would recommend engaging in similar experiences to other people of their age. 80% think they are better prepared to participate in social or political life.

Mobile youth = increased democratic engagement

We believe that democratic life will clearly benefit from more engagement by young people as they will be less tempted to adopt extreme and populist positions.

While 29% of all 18-24 year-olds in the EU participated in the 2009 European elections, 60% of participants in youth exchange programmes put their ballot in the box

So if abstention is one of the main problems most Western democracies face, haven’t we found a concrete solution to this challenge? Indeed, the same European Commission survey shows that, while 29% of all 18-24 year-olds in the EU participated in the 2009 European elections, 60% of participants in youth exchange programmes put their ballot in the box.

The Europe effect: making youth exchange programmes more available to young people

We believe that all young Europeans should have the opportunity to experience Europe once in their life as it has a positive impact on their professional and personal future. We believe that young people are the drivers of growth and getting out of the crisis and, by becoming more entrepreneurial and innovative, can be empowered to drive their own future.

What is Europe's impact on people’s daily life? It’s a question that is often asked, and implies that any impact is far removed from the concerns of citizens. The truth is that for many issues the impact is big. And for good reasons.  

That is why we, the EPP Group in the European Parliament, have pushed to reinforce youth exchange programmes and make them more available to young people.

We secured an increase of more than 40% for youth exchange programmes

The results are there: while the overall funding for EU activities will decrease for 2014-2020, we secured an increase of more than 40% for youth exchange programmes under the new, reinforced Erasmus+ programme. We expect almost 5 million young people to participate in different exchange programmes by 2020.

To promote young people’s participation in public life, we must promote their active citizenship as a whole and here we have a concrete way of doing it.

Youth exchange programmes will enable young people to develop key competences for their first job

Youth exchange programmes are the kind of European initiatives that bring added-value to young Europeans. Against a backdrop of high youth unemployment, it will enable them to develop key skills for their first job and empower them to have an impact on their own life and society in general.

We have fought for this, because we believe in it. Because we believe in people.

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