According to the OECD, the COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on the education, employment, mental health and disposable income of youth all across Europe, most notably due to public health restrictions. As this report from the European Parliament show, lower and unequal access to education and training, higher unemployment and a reversal of many positive social and economic trends for young people in Europe and beyond.
These new difficulties must be addressed to ensure a brighter future for all. One, in particular, stands out: the rise of mental health afflictions like depression and anxiety among the youth. For instance, almost two-thirds of people (64%) in the age group 18–34 years were at risk of depression in spring 2021. The pandemic brought to light the sheer number of people who are in need of support and how much work there is to do in that regard.
Discussing youth policy in Europe
With every challenge comes an equally important opportunity. Local and regional authorities have a critical role to play in supporting post-pandemic recovery, especially in regard to youth policy and programmes. The key to a more equitable and lasting recovery lies in finding new ways to support youth in their projects, harness their energy and passion and foster cross-generational and intercultural integration and cohesion.
This is why the AER is organising a Bureau debate on youth policy in Europe as part of our flagship youth event, the AER Summer academy.
This debate will bring together representatives of local and regional authorities, European Institutions and other relevant stakeholders to answer the following questions:
- What should the focus of youth policy be in our post-pandemic European societies?
- How can youth contribute to building more resilient and strengthened European regions?
- What can public actors do to avoid facing a “lockdown generation” and maximise the well-being of European youth?
The debate will take place on 31 August 2022 in County Donegal (IE).
This interactive debate will bring together regional and European policymakers and experts. It includes an extended thirty-minute Q & A where participants will have the opportunity to share their views and insights with our panellists. Don’t miss the chance to help shape AER’s work on youth policy in Europe!
The speakers have been announced!
Invited speakers to the panel debate will include:
- Maria Koleva, Deputy Head of Cabinet; Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth – European Commission
- Sabine Verheyen, chair of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) – European Parliament
- Anne Karjalainen, Chair of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) and Chair of Kerava City Council – European Committee of the Regions
- Frederic Piccavet, Vice-president – European Youth Forum
- Clementina Barbaro, Head of Youth Policies Division – Council of Europe
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