Election of a New Chairwoman of AER Sub-Committee on Youth.
Ms Marta Vilalta, General Director For Youth of the Catalan Government was elected Chairwoman of the AER Sub-Committee on Youth on 13 April 2016 in Timis (RO) at the AER Spring Committee Meetings. She will be leading the work of the Sub-Committee to promote the key issues related to youth policies in Europe with AER members on issues including employment, entrepreneurship and school drop-out.
The diversity that regions bring to Europe today is recognised as a key asset. No one could imagine a Europe where States are the only ones to give voice to their citizens. Networks such as AER are essential to understand the reality of Europe and its citizens because they give a political voice to the regions.
Catalonia has a strong European vocation and is eager to strengthen its links with other European regions through its participation in AER. Ms Vilalta, emphasizes that “one of the main goals for Catalonia, and for our General Directorate of Youth, is to get involved at European and international level, because we are sure that it is one of the most relevant ways for facing the current challenges and, especially, for improving the opportunities for youth.”
Europe has faced important changes in the past century on the social, financial, political, cultural levels which bring new challenges and aims for the regions and especially for young people. New challenges which regions must face together, as Ms Vilalta insists: “Now it is time to work together to reinforce the commitment of our regions to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable society, especially for young people and with young people”
To face them, public policies need to incorporate the perspective of community work, which tries to bring the decision making processes closer to the citizens and to young generations. “In this line, from our regional point of view, we need to move torwards a model of democratic governance to ensure that all the institutional and social agents participate with co-responsibility in the development of youth policies.”
Catalonia acts on achieving two main goals:
- First, to help young people’s build their life project. “We want to guarantee the conditions to consolidate and make young people’s basic rights effective, so as to allow them to have a better quality of life. Our work at the Sub-Committee on Youth must be focused on: Early School drop-outs, Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship, and the Youth Guarantee as a tool for working on it”, Ms Vilalta states.
- The second goal is to empower young people. ”We need to push their active role as citizens within society and offer opportunities for young people to take part in policy-making. ”
The local level, and specially regions, are very relevant actors to take a step towards an inclusive and sustainable society. “For our region, the Assembly of European Regions and its Sub-Committee on Youth are great tools for working on this approach”, Ms Vilalta says.
Some of these issues have been developed by AER with successful projects like Working Group on School Dropouts or Youth Entrepreneurship: “I want to work very close to the AER youth regional network (YRN) and to improve our relations with the European institutions. Also, I think that the cross-sectoral work between all the Committees and Sub-Committees necessary. I am sure that this approach will help us achieve our purposes in the best way”.
Regarding her election as Chairwoman of the Committee 3 Sub-Committee on Youth, Ms Vilalta has expressed: “It is an honour to assume the position of Chairwoman of the Youth Sub-Committee. I am pleased to work for facing the challenges of youth in our regions, working together and finding innovative and effective solutions. This is a commitment that I will assume with enthusiasm and responsibility”.
Her working plan responds to the need of establishing a broad and comprehensive framework which allows coordinated action between all the actors involved to face youth’s main challenges.