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What it is youth participation?


European institutions and organisations responsible for youth policy have on several occasions emphasised the importance of youth participation to foster young people’s active citizenship, their social inclusion and their contribution to the development of democracy.

Participation in the democratic life of any kind of community is about having the right, the means, the space, the opportunity and the support to participate in society’s decision making and the possibility to engage in activities that contribute to building a better society.

Youth participation was promoted already in 1992 in the first “European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life”, adopted by Council of EUrope. It was revised in 2003 in order to address the changing issues experienced by young people. It supports participation of young people on local and regional level, inclusion of disadvantaged young people and youth dimension in all relevant policies.

Also the European Commission made in its White Paper on Youth participation a priority area for the specific youth field. As a result, objectives such as increase participation by young people in the civic life, to take greater participation by young people in the democrarcy, to support, to increase participation by young people in the civic life of their community, to take possible greater participation by young people in the system or representative democracy, greater support of the various forms of learning to participate The White Paper proposed, as a matter of principle, the regular consultation of and direct dialogue with young people and their representative organisations on all topics relevant for youth. Consequently the Commission involved young people in all stages in the follow-up of the White Paper, but as well in the debate on the future of Europe.

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