Gathered for their Plenary meeting in the County of Vrancea (Romania) from 18 to 20 November 2016, the delegates from the AER Youth Regional Network (YRN) took strong decisions on the future of their organisation, to make it more adapted to the realities faced by youth in their regions, more relevant, more transparent and more efficient.
The latest Plenary meeting of the YRN has been a great opportunity for the members to express their wishes and concerns over the network, with open discussions and honest debates. This preliminary work will now give a strong mandate to the YRN Presidium to present a final statutory document, that will be presented, amended, and voted at the next General Assembly.
Closer relationship with the Assembly of European Regions
Over the last years, the Youth Regional Network has been quite independent and flying alone. Unanimously, the youth delegates have shown they intention to work in close relation with their “mother organisation“, the Assembly of European Regions. The Presidium already made a couple of proposals to implement this, including a reform of the committees to link them directly to the three Committees of AER. The ties with AER Committee 3 (Culture, Education and Youth) and with its Sub-committee on Youth will be reinforced, as requested by all the parties involved. A few years back, the AER Executive Board had already taken a similar approach and decided to include the President of the YRN. The AER Secretariat will also strengthen its role of coordination, to ensure a good flow of information between the two structures.
As for their senior counterparts, the YRN delegates have emphasized the importance of concrete outputs, that can be used by all delegates once they are back in their home region. The correct use and implementation of all the knowledge and exchanges is of course the most important, but also the most critical, phase of the AER activities. Together with the AER Secretariat, the Presidium will make sure that all members receive the right tools to do so, to keep on working home, relay the messages shared within the YRN and better prepare the coming meetings. Again, many proposals were put on the table in Vrancea, and already started to be implemented.
THE voice of youth delegates in Europe
With its unique composition, the Youth Regional Network truly represents the youth from Europe, in their cultural, geographic and political diversity. To strengthen their position, the YRN wishes to become a real partner of the European Union and the Council of Europe, and establish long-term partnerships with other organisations and institutions, to activate the voice of youth wherever it is relevant.
Attractiveness and membership
With a current number of 48 members, the YRN is already a solid network, but still has room for enlarging. The delegates proposed to simplify the membership procedures and to design a strategic plan to strengthen the links with the current members; better inform the AER members about the programme and the relevance to join it; address other youth regional councils and organisations. In its various missions and meetings, the Assembly of European Regions will keep on promoting the programme, and ensure a good participation from its members.
Age limit, funding of activities, internal management,… Many points were raised by the youth delegates and led to debates, without coming to a prior consensus on principles. The Presidium will discuss them in the next weeks and come with concrete proposals, which will all be at the agenda of the General Assembly for decision of the members.
The overall exercice was an excellent start, contributing to reinforce the democratic process for a stronger involvement and endorsement of the members. After the next General Assembly, the Youth Regional Network will be fully prepared for a second breath, driven by a fully pledged team!