The seminar, which was co-funded under the Erasmus+ programme, was informed by keynote interventions by:
• Allan Päll, Secretary General at the European Youth Forum (EYF), who spoke about the EYF as an advocacy platform for young people’s interests;
• Tamás Várnai from the European Commission’s DG EMPL, who explained the EU’s main policies on youth employment; and
• Ellen Durst from the European Commission’s DG EAC, who presented selected EU initiatives to promote and foster active youth engagement in society.
Based on the presentations and on their own work as young trade unionists, the seminar participants developed a set of recommendations for an enhanced participation of young people in civic processes and trade unionism in particular. These were presented at a meeting in the European Parliament hosted by MEP Monika Vana and with the participation of the cultural and employment/social affairs advisors of the Greens/EFA group, Frédérique Chabaud and Herlinde Vanhooydonck.
Ways to foster participation of young people in civic processes
The set of recommendations includes diverse suggestions for an enhanced participation of young people in civic processes and relates to topics such as:
• establishing more and deeper links between youth work organisations/civil society organisations and young people in order to stimulate their involvement in voluntary work;
• reforming education systems with a view to teaching more civic education;
• having public authorities more visibly award voluntary civic engagement of young people, for instance through certificates and awards;
• putting in place measures that will allow young people to better reconcile job duties and voluntary civic engagements;
• taking measures to reach out more to refugees and migrants for voluntary civic activities; and
• ensuring better framework conditions for youth organisations to pursue youth inclusion activities.
How to attract more young trade unionists?
The recommendations also specifically focus on ways to engage young people more in trade unionism. They suggest, for instance:
• a better coordination of awareness raising campaigns by trade unions in schools, universities and job-seeker forums;
• a further empowerment young people in internal decision-making processes in trade unions;
• a more effective legal employment protection for young people engaging in trade union work, especially those in precarious work relationships.
Disseminating key recommendations within and beyond CESI
CESI Secretary General Heeger welcomed the recommendations worked out by the seminar participants: “Attracting new, young and engaged affiliates is a challenge for many trade unions in Europe. The recommendations adopted during our seminar can serve as a guide for them to address it.” The recommendations, which will be available soon online in the policy positions section of CESI’s website, will be discussed in CESI’s internal organs and sent as recommendations for action to CESI’s member organisations and affiliates as well as to officials, politicians and decision-makers working on youth policies in the EU institutions.