271 young people replied to the survey launched by EEE-YFU and thus contributed to the “Structured Dialogue” consultations.
Joining voices with other thousands of youth across Europe, these replies will provide meaningful input to shape the next European Youth Strategy.
Here is a summary of the main points raised by EEE-YFU’s respondents.
Language and intercultural competencies: the most needed!
Competencies in foreign languages are the most demanded. Intercultural and relational competencies come right after. Young people also believe it is important to acquire ICT competencies.
Respondents highlight the importance of the “learning to learn” competence, with 89% of them replying that it is somewhat important or very important to manage your own learning.
Hands-on experiences to set realistic life goals
The best ways to do so is by hands-on experiences, via internships or via volunteering experiences.
Website and online information is perceived as a very important tool to form its own opinion and define life paths, right after the “hands-on experiences”.
Information and guidance offered in schools is also somehow important; in countries where schools have “counsellors”, this role is highly appreciated, but unfortunately this counselling is not offered in every country and in every school.
With family and friends, young people learn respect and non-violent dialogue
Respondents place great value in the concept of “learning to live together” and they believe that this learning happens mainly in informal settings (with family and friends), rather than in non-formal education or in formal education.
Therefore, peer-to peer learning, feeling part of an open community, developing relationships with people from different backgrounds is vital to enable young people to engage in positive and constructive dialogue. Schools, but also youth centres, sport clubs, and associations should be inclusive environments where young people from different backgrounds can meet, discuss, express themselves, debate, and learn from each-other.
Better communication to understand and support the EU
Young people who responded to our survey feel that the EU should improve and strengthen communication around its core values, thus creating a feeling of belonging and adhesion to common principles.
There is little information about concrete impact of EU decisions in our everyday lives. This has created the image of the EU as an “apparatus” that is far away from the lives of the citizens and that regulates only very abstract subjects. Citizens should also be made aware of the opportunities that the EU is giving to them and to their countries, in terms of support, rights, and freedoms.
Formal and non-formal education to combat discrimination
Schools are seen as the most effective place to combat discrimination, because everyone can be reached via formal education at a young age. Non-formal education and youth work are also very important, because they can reach more effectively certain sectors of young people that do not feel at ease in formal education settings. Non-formal education and youth work can create safe places where young people can freely express themselves, without the fear of being judged. In such contexts, opening-up and discussing about discrimination and inequalities can be easier.
Make European programmes more accessible
Many young people are not aware of EU projects and therefore do not apply simply because they do not receive information about these opportunities. This is true in particular for young people from rural areas and from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Financial support would allow more people to participate, despite their financial resources or their families’ resources.
Informed choices to influence decision-making
The most important aspect to influence decision-making is the possibility to access reliable information and make informed choices. Media literacy is very important: all young people should be able to navigate the complex world of news and be equipped to recognise fake news.
Youth organisations and NGOs represent important spaces where young people can speak-up, form their opinion, get a better understanding of public issues, and ultimately influence decision-making by unifying voices.