Parliamentary Assembly

RECOMMENDATION 758 (1975)[1]

on group participation by young people

The Assembly,

1. Recalling its Recommendation 592 (1970) on youth problems in Europe, which, among other things, emphasised the importance of real participation by young people in cultural and educational activities, and in political, social and economic action ;

2. Noting with satisfaction that some of its recommendations have been put into practice, and in particular that a European Youth Centre and a European Youth Foundation have been set up and are highly successful ;

3. Informed of the work already done and the action set in motion by other international organisations, in particular the European Communities and Unesco, in the sphere of co-operation with "organised youth" ;

4. Noting the programme on group participation by young people, prepared by the Council for Cultural Co-operation and comprising three stages, namely : drawing up of means best suitable for enabling youth to play a part in decision-making (provisionally envisaged in the form of a charter) ; organising meetings between researchers, representatives of youth organisations and governmental decision-makers ; establishing a "model" of participation within the Council of Europe ;

5. Convinced that real, consistent participation by young people must be achieved primarily by working through youth organisations ;

6. Pointing out that young people are no longer content to be consulted on questions affecting their own status, but want to be involved in remoulding social relationships, defining the aims of society and changing it ;

7. Taking note of Resolution (72) 29 of the Committee of Ministers on the lowering of the age of full legal capacity, adopted on 19 September 1972, and of positive developments in the member countries of the Council of Europe as regards the lowering of the voting age ;

8. Recalling that in its Resolution (74) 4, on the future role of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers included questions relating to youth in the list of activities to be given priority ;

9. Encouraged by the experience of the European Youth Centre, which operates as an independent body with a governing board where governments and youth organisations are equally represented, and believing that the success of the Centre fully justifies an extension of its activities and an increase of its financial means ;

10. Convinced that the Council of Europe and its institutions provide a suitable framework for pursuing a policy of youth participation,

11. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :

a. continue to attach special importance to youth problems, and particularly to the question of group participation by young people, and invite the governments of member states to give youth organisations financial aid at international, national, regional and local levels ;

b. ask the governments of those member states which have not yet lowered the voting age below 21 to do so and to consider the advisability of lowering the age at which a person may stand for election, on the basis of thorough research and in the light of recent experience ;

c. promote school and education systems designed to prepare young people to take part in decision-making from an early age ;

d. take into account, in the drawing-up of the medium-term plan for 1976-80, the necessity for an extension of co-operation with youth organisations, and make available the funds required for the realisation of the programme on youth participation, prepared by the CCC ;

e. lay down principles and make arrangements for group participation by young people, possibly in the form of a "European Youth Participation Charter", and see that the said principles and arrangements favour the youth organisations with the most democratic decision-making structures ;

f. instruct the CCC to work in close cooperation with the Assembly and the European Youth Centre where its activities connected with youth participation are concerned ;

g. increase the means available to the European Youth Centre to ensure an extension of the premises, equipment and personnel necessary for the development of activities already in hand, but also to allow the future development of meetings involving research workers, governmental decision-makers and representatives of youth organisations, which are envisaged in the present CCC programme ;

h. recognise the importance of the European Youth Foundation, by deciding upon its continuation for an indeterminate period and by substantially increasing its present endowment ;

i. attach special importance to making it easier for young people to express their views, which is vital if they are to be better understood by the adult world, and ask governments of member states to give financial assistance to "information centres" for youth, to be managed by young people themselves ;

j. extend the co-operation with youth organisations that already exists thanks to the EYC to other sectors of activity of the Council of Europe, thus putting into practice in the organisation itself the principles and ideas it wishes to promote.

[1]. Assembly debate on 22 April 1975 (2nd Sitting) (see Doc. 3590, report of the Committee on Culture and Education).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 April 1975 (2nd Sitting).