The President of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Karl-Heinz Lambertz, and the First Vice-President of the CoR EDUC commission,Jean-François Istasse, took today part in a conference co-organised by the CoR and the German National Agency for the “Youth in Action” EU Programme (JUGEND für Europa). The conference, entitled "Think European – Act Local: the role of federal states and regions in the EU Youth Strategy", - brought together stakeholders active in youth policies to discuss the role of EU regions in framing youth policies and exchanging good practices.
Opening the conference, Jean-Francois Istasse stressed that "in times of crisis and alarming youth unemployment rates in a growing number of EU regions, stronger political cooperation between all levels of government is vital to improve formal and non-formal education, social aspects and employment of young people", underlining also the need to actively involve young people in the design and implementation of youth strategies.
In the same vein, Karl-Heinz Lambertz urged for more political courage to create a comprehensive European youth policy: "Fragmented political responses, lack of solidarity and reluctance to address at the appropriate political level one of the ugliest consequences of the crisis have so far seriously undermined the job prospects of an entire generation of young Europeans. The young are our future must no longer be an empty slogan, but we must take up the challenge and promote concrete policies and investments", he emphasised.
"The EU-wide introduction of the so-called 'Youth guarantee', which our political family has been fighting for, is an important first step. However, the focus must now be on ensuring that local and regional authorities have the capacity to implement these guarantees and creating clear perspectives for a more social Europe, which puts the young generation at its very heart", concluded the President of the PES Group in the CoR.