On 11 and 12 October 2022, the EU4Youth Days brought together youth workers and practitioners, policy makers and researchers from the Eastern Partnership region, the Western Balkans and Türkiye, and the Southern Neighbourhood. With the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) in the lead, this event provided a platform for discussions about youth participation and dialogue, youth employment and entrepreneurship, green transition and digitalisation.
The two-day event included a conference taking place in Brussels on 11 October, as well as an online knowledge-sharing event the next day. More than 160 participants attended the event in person and over 1,400 joined online. As well as a number of speakers and panellists from all of the EU’s neighbouring regions, Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for EU Neighbourhood and Enlargement,addressed participants. He stressed the need to work together to shape the present and our common future. While the impact of the pandemic, crisis and unemployment in the region has been harsh on young people, opportunities can also be created from this. The Commissioner stressed that young people are well placed to be the change makers, to identify the need for reform and to bounce back. Mr. Várhelyi said the brain drain remained a challenge in the neighbourhood, and that the EU aims to offer more opportunities, and to support better education systems in the neighbourhood countries to help young people towards a better livelihood. From the Eastern neighbourhood, 14 Young European Ambassadors joined the event in Brussels and were engaged in a variety of initiatives to boost youth activism.
In the afternoon of 12 October, a session dedicated to celebrating the achievements of the EU4Youth projects was held. The active EU4Youth grant projects received awards from DG NEAR and presented their achievements in supporting young people in the region. More information about the EU4Youth Programme results and recommendations can be found in the 2021 Achievements Report.
The knowledge-sharing event taking place on 12 October offered a space to share and discover good practices on a wide range of themes for improved youth support, established in the EU and beyond. Participants were able to engage in several virtual workshops with their peers, youth policy experts and young people active in civil society from the EU and its neighbouring regions. The sessions allowed them to learn from each other and create sustainability and synergies between their initiatives and projects. Amongst others, the Eastern neighborhood was represented through initiatives like the EU4Youth Alumni Network and the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility.
In parallel to the activities taking place in Brussels, several EU Delegations from the Neighbourhood regions also organised local events on the occasion of the EU4Youth Days. In the Eastern Partnership, so called satellite events took place in Moldova and Georgia. The events brought together CSOs’ representatives, including NGOs, coordinators of EU Information Centres and Euro Clubs, representatives of youth centres, Young European Ambassadors, representatives of academic institutions and others. The event on 11 October was also broadcast to the delegations, to allow for even further reach of the discussions on youth and EU support to young people in the neighborhood countries.
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