On June 5th and 6th, AEGEE-Europe hosted a 2 days event in the European Parliament, where different Belgian and European NGOs had the opportunity to discuss the possibilities for Co-Management in the European institutions, together with representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and its Advisory Council on Youth, and the European Youth Forum. The event was hosted by the MEP Hannes Swoboda, who is also President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament and financed through the Youth in Action Grant. AEGEE-Brussels was organising the conference together with AEGEE-Europe.
What is exactly the Co-Management that we are proposing? We want more than just being consulted in the EU decision-making process. Young people should be involved in the three phases: consultation, decision and monitoring. Co-management is a unique model where governments and youth representatives sit together to decide on the political and strategic priorities of the youth sector, including the budget allocations in accordance with these priorities, and to monitor the sector’s annual or pluriannual programmes. We have seen that this scheme works in the Council of Europe and we want to put it into practice in the European Union.
On the first morning, we had two panels moderated by Marco Grdosic, former president of AEGEE-Europe, where we could get a lot of input.
In the first panel there were interventions from Marian Harkin, MEP from the ALDE group; Pascal Lejeune, head of Youth Unit of the European Commission; André Jaques-Dodin, Head of the Intergovernmental Division of the youth department of the Council of Europe; Maria Paschou, Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth of the CoE; Peter Matjaši?, President of the European Youth Forum (YFJ); and Luca Scarpiello, Secretary of the Youth Intergroup of the European Parliament. They debated the current structure of the Council of Europe as an example of best practices, and explored the benefits of having a similar system for the European Institutions.
The second panel counted on the participation of Giuseppe Porcaro, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum; Kaisu Suopanki from Allianssi, the Finnish Youth Council, which has already implemented a co-management scheme; Ivailo Kalfin, MEP from the S&D Group; and André-Jacques Dodin. They were discussing the different possibilities of implementing the co-management in the EU institutions.
During the afternoon session on Wednesday, two parallel sessions were scheduled to discuss in depth and work in small groups. On one workshop, the focus was on the possible structure for a youth co-management scheme in the EU and the fields where the co-management would be needed; on the second workshop, the discussion was focused on legitimacy and representation of the European youth in this new structure.
On Thursday, the participants presented the results of the previous day work to MEP Hannes Swoboda, president of the S&D Group in the EP. After that, they prepared the follow-up of the conference. This process was just initiated and has a long way ahead, but we young Europeans want to play a bigger role in the EU!
We would like to thank all participants for their active contribution, their ideas and their involvement in the whole process. Without them, and the expertise from their organizations in many cases, we could never have achieved such a big outcome. Thanks also to the European Parliament for hosting us, specially MEP Hannes Swoboda, his office and the S&D group of the EP for their support.
With this event, we wanted to take the lead in proposing a greater involvement of young people inside the European Institutions, because we believe that we need to involve them when the discussions are taken, in order to make young people more aware and more interested of what European Politics is about. The co-management system is a very open and transparent system for youth and in the current context, where young people’s need are being one priority of decision-makers, we think that it is very important to take into account the input of young people. We hope that in the future there would be a body of young people representing European youth who could sit equally with the European Commission when making decisions about youth issues.