Spain – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:33:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reaction to the draft law of Spanish Government shutting down the Spanish Youth Council /reaction-to-the-draft-law-of-spanish-government-shutting-down-the-spanish-youth-council/ /reaction-to-the-draft-law-of-spanish-government-shutting-down-the-spanish-youth-council/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 17:28:17 +0000 On 17th January 2014, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the draft law of Reform of the Public Administration that, based on an alleged duplicity of functions with the governmental body Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE), formally abolishes the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España – CJE), turning a blind eye to the recommendations of Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, encouraging for the reconsideration of this measure.

AEGEE, as a youth organization striving for the participation of young people in decision-making processes, is strongly disappointed to see such a decision taken from the Spanish government, and calls for the Spanish Parliament to amend the Draft Law of Reform of the Public Administration and preserve the Spanish Youth Council. AEGEE, whose representatives in Spain are members of the Spanish Youth Council, is concerned by the lack of vision from the Spanish Government, which ignores the mandate of the Spanish Constitution (see art. 48) and eliminates the organ that has the representation of Spanish youth to defend their interests.

CJE is an organism founded in 1984, and nowadays gathers 76 diverse national organizations. It voices the interests of the young people on topics that are crucial for them, such as employment, sexual health or education. Shutting it down would worsen the situation of a collective that is already suffering the hard consequences of the international economic crisis. Therefore, AEGEE believes that this measure is a wrong approach to solving their issues problems, because it causes a lack of representation.

The same 17th of January, the Spanish Youth Council published a press release regarding the approval of the draft law showing their disagreement. In this document they highlight that “Spanish Government commits a big mistake that would let the Spanish youth without a valid representation” mentioning that this decision is not taken from the alleged “administrative efficiency criteria”, but with the objective of eliminating an “inconvenient organism”.

The European Youth Forum also reacted against this announcement calling “on the Spanish government to recognise young people, through their representation by youth organisations such as the CJE, as critical components of a healthy democracy”. They base their argumentation, as Martin Schulz also did, upon the European Union’s White Paper on Youth, emphasizing the importance of democratic platforms such as Spanish Youth Council in promoting youth participation through independent institutions.

Written by Pablo Hernández, Policy Officer of AEGEE-Europe for Youth Participation

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Is Europe on the right track? – Not at all! /is-europe-on-the-right-track-not-at-all/ Thu, 20 Dec 2012 22:02:50 +0000 /?p=2631 In Madrid after a lively discussion with AEGEE-Madrid about the problems of youth in Spain,
we attended a meeting with Ricardo Ibarra Roca, head of the Spanish Youth Council and
Marco Dosantos, a representative of a Spanish organisation for LGBT-Rights.

They explained the political situation from their perspective, stressing out the difficulties
the youth organisations are facing. On the one hand there is a problem of visibility and
recognition for these organisations by the officials and by the public. On the other hand
recently the government cut their funds up to 50%, which makes their work very difficult,
as well as tackling the issue of visibility.

Right now the Spanish Youth organisations rely mostly on European funds, like Youth in Action
money, but it is not sure what will happen with these in the new EU budget from 2014 to 2020.
So the situation looks a bit precarious. Yet there is hope since people start realizing their problems
and slowly start fighting them.

The political apathy that grew in most parts of society seems to be on the retreat,
yet people don’t know how to act and how to use their frustrations constructively,
which might be some reason why so many protest on the streets. Regarding this
the importance of educating children to become active citizens was mentioned,
to already teach them in school to find others sharing their interests and show
them all the associations that already exist, waiting for their contribution. Obviously
the new school subject of „Citizenship“ had been introduced for several years,
but was turned down due to protests by the church and conservatives, since
it also educated children about gay-rights.

In Spain this problem is also a structural one, because the sector of Youth organisations
and active citizenship is only growing for 30 years and before during the dictatorship
this mindset didn’t exist at all and was not promoted, which makes Education an even
more pressing issue.

In the end Ricardo admitted: „We can not make big changes as national Youth council,
but we can introduce small ones here and there.  As young people are not as important
as voters as for example retired people they need to lobby even harder and this is
one of the tasks of the Youth Council.“

Do you have an example for political measures you are promoting?

„As well we promote political actions, like the Youth Guarantee, which will be tested in a pilot project
in the region of Murcia. So we can proof that it works.“

So is Europe on the right track?

„No, not at all, right now we are on the middle of the road and if we dont move we will be hit by a car. Europe can move forward or backwards, but it can not stay like this. I think we have to move on to a more federal Europe with a strong European central bank, to take back the sovereignty over our money. The situation in Greece, Spain and Portugal can not stay like this, because the money goes to the banks and the people are suffering.“