Doc. 8333

4 March 1999

European youth co-operation and recent proposals for structural change

Recommendation 1364 (1998)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 660th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (23 February 1999)

The Committee of Ministers has noted with interest Recommendation 1364 (1998), adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, on European youth co-operation and recent proposals for structural change.

In reply to that Recommendation, the Committee of Ministers wishes to reassert the importance it attaches to youth in the implementation of the Council of Europe's objectives and activities. In this connection, it is of the opinion that the reform of the youth structures adopted at its 650th meeting, 24-25 November 1998, is broadly in keeping with the proposals set out in Recommendation 1364 (1998). That reform:

—        creates the conditions for greater participation in the youth work of the Council of Europe by young people who do not belong to recognised youth organisations. The new statutes of the Centre and the Foundation stipulate that these programmes are accessible not only to recognised youth organisations but also to youth networks and other structures involved in areas of youth work which are relevant to the Council of Europe's youth policy. That same openness is also reflected in the composition of the new statutory organs of the Centre and the Foundation;

—        also reflects the attachment of the Committee of Ministers to the principle of co-management by introducing a Joint Council on Youth Questions comprising both governmental and non-governmental partners in the youth sector, as well as a joint Programming Committee. The former is responsible for developing a common position on priorities, goals and budget packages for the whole of the youth sector, for submission to the Committee of Ministers for approval. The latter is responsible for drawing up the programmes of the Centre and the Foundation within the framework of the said common position;

—        provides for the holding of regular meetings, under the authority of the Secretary General, between the directors or their deputies, in order to ensure consistency in the activities carried out through the various Council of Europe directorates involved in the youth field. These co-ordination meetings will undoubtedly help to stimulate co-operation between the youth sector and the other sectors of the Organisation;

—        strengthens the place and role of the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) within the youth sector. The terms of reference of the CDEJ stipulate that it may make proposals with regard to priorities, goals and budget packages for the whole of the youth sector, including the Centre and the Foundation. Furthermore, it gives greater scope for the CDEJ in particular to promote youth activities for the purpose of their funding;

—        brings about the necessary conditions for greater stability and reliability of the resources of the European Youth Foundation, by introducing a new procedure whereby the member States' contributions - as the Foundation's basic income - become compulsory;

—        does not have the effect of reducing either the level of staff or the level of funding allocated to the youth sector. Considering the amount of receipts which the European Youth Foundation will derive in 1999 from compulsory contributions by the member States, the overall level of appropriations granted to the youth sector in 1999 is higher than in 1998.

With regard to the European Youth Centre in Budapest, the Committee of Ministers is gratified to note the positive assessment made in this regard by the Evaluation Working Party appointed by it, and has decided to make that centre a permanent Council of Europe structure and to confirm its original status.

Finally, with regard to co-operation between the youth sector and the European Union, it should be emphasised that a partnership agreement on the first phase of a long-term programme for the training of youth tutors is in preparation, with a view to implementation from the end of 1998 onwards.