International Youth Day was created by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1998. The event is now marked on 12 August each year, the day aims to celebrate the contribution youths make to society.
International mobility is crucial for young people in terms of improving their skills and competences and increasing their chances to contribute to their country’s labour market, especially in times of crises. However, related issues such as forced migration and or brain drain are worrying side effects that would need to be addressed specifically.
The Forum calls for a strong European initiative to strengthen youth participation in decision-making processes at all levels, including European legislation on visas, and to be fully involved in the fight against growing unemployment and the associated increased risks of poverty and social exclusion.
Peter Matjašič, President of the European Youth Forum underlined “the only way to empower young people to fight for their own rights is to involve youth organisations and youth representatives in the decision making process.”
The Forum points to some stark statistics that outline the problems that migrant youth are facing: as compared with non-migrants, young people with an immigration background are 70% more likely to be in the NEET group (Not in Employment, Education or Training). 2011 Eurostat statistics meanwhile showed that the unemployment rate for foreign-born persons is much higher (up to 7%) than in the total population. On the eve of International Youth Day, the Forum therefore calls on European decision-makers to work on reversing this trend.
The European Youth Forum (YFJ) is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic and youth-led, it represents 99 National Youth Councils and International Youth Organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Institutions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.