In its meeting on 15 September in Batumi (Ajara-GE), the Executive Board took stock of AER’s 30-year youth mobility programme and agreed on a series of measures and changes necessary to guarantee Eurodyssey’s next 30 years of activity. In doing so, the Executive Board confirmed the political will to maintain and boost Eurodyssey as a flagship initiative for the AER with great value for member regions and a direct impact on citizens.
The proposals put forward by the Executive Board will not impact the very nature of the programme; the value of the exchanges, the quality of the work accomplished by the regions involved in the programme and the results have time and time again proven their worth and raised interest of other regions, organisations and institutions. The restructuring that is put forward will mainly impact the back-end running of the programme but is critical to increase visibility and coordination.
The programme has benefitted from a rotating secretariat assured by the investment of dedicated Eurodyssey members. The regions of the Açores (PT), Ile-de-France (FR) and currently Timis (RO) have taken up this task to run the programme for a number of years. The region of Franche-Comté completed a SWOT analysis of the programme in 2016 and identified some shortcomings in terms of overall coordination and control. The Executive Board has suggested to move towards a centralised and permanent secretariat for the programme that could be taken up by the AER Secretariat. By no means does this proposal undermine the work of the regions that have ensured the secretariat of the programme and they are thanked for the crucial role that they have played in Eurodyssey’s development.
Eurodyssey is an AER programme, and a prime example of AER’s essence for promoting interregional cooperation. As such, it needs to be governed and managed like all other AER initiatives and actions, in line with the AER Statute and in the spirit of a true political organisation. The programme needs to be an integral part of the AER structure, discussed and managed and the appropriate levels, with the adequate budget. Measures will be taken to better integrate the programme within the AER Committee 3 for Education, Youth and Culture, thus ensuring the political decision-making process.
The coordinators and technicians working on a daily basis to match young people from across Europe to internship offers in other regions use the Eurodyssey website as their main tool. The tool needs to be updated to comply to the current AER website and technical platform; the necessary funds will be made available for this transition after which the tool will be reviewed and the needed changes mapped and planned for the future.
Actions have already been taken both by AER and Eurodyssey members to attract new regions in the programme. The effectiveness of the matching depends on the variety of offers available for the exchanges. A strategy has been developed to target Scandinavian regions as well as Dutch and other English-speaking regions. Discussions are ongoing with some regions and AER will continue to promote the programme in this manner with the support of Eurodyssey members.