22 March 1994

Doc. 7049

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Suppementary reply to Recommendation 1191 (1992)

on exchanges involving young workers

after the revolutionary changes of 1989

(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 March 1994

at the 509th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)


1.       The Committee of Ministers recalls that, at its 486th meeting (January 1993), it adopted an interim reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1191 (1992) on exchanges involving young workers after the revolutionary changes of 1989, and at the same time assigned ad hoc terms of reference to the Steering Committee for Employment and Labour (CDEM), the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), and the European Steering Committee for Intergovernmental Co-operation in the Youth Field (CDEJ), for them to formulate an opinion on the recommendation. On the basis of these opinions, the Committee of Ministers furnishes the following supplementary reply to this recommendation.

2.       With regard to paragraph 7.i, the CDEJ notes that, with regard to mobility, the Council of Europe youth sector does not deal with the mobility of young workers as such, but youth mobility in general. Mobility is considered as a factor of European integration and of intercultural learning.

      After the adoption of the Final text of the 4th Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth (Vienna, 15-16 April 1993) the CDEJ was instructed to continue its work concerning youth mobility, which would lead to the identification of existing barriers to youth mobility and to the definition of a framework indicating the rules, practical conditions and volume of youth mobility deemed feasible and acceptable by the Contracting Parties of the European Cultural Convention in the years to come.

      The CDEM shares the Parliamentary Assembly's view that young workers must be given the opportunity to broaden their cultural and occupational horizons through stays in other European countries, to round off their vocational training and also become acquainted with other lifestyles and working environments. It feels that such experiences would respond to the desire frequently expressed, at national and international level, to promote youth mobility, and would allow young people, once they return to their own country, to share the knowledge they have gained and thus to play a positive role in national economic and social development.

3.       As far as paragraph 7.ii is concerned, the CDMG points out that in November 1992 it held an exchange of views on temporary migration for purposes of employment and training, and has recently started work on Project III.4 on short-term migration in Europe. The Select Committee of Experts on short-term migration (MG-R-MT), which is responsible for this project, will indeed consider whether it is appropriate to "make proposals designed to increase the opportunities for young people from Central and Eastern European countries to undertake training and employment for fixed periods in other European countries" as proposed by the Parliamentary Assembly. The CDMG considers that a judgement on this matter can only be made in the light of the review of the advantages and disadvantages of the existing agreements and arrangements for various forms of short-term migration which will be carried out in the earlier stages of this Project.

4.       Regarding paragraph 7.iii, the Bureau of the Board of Coordination of the Partial Agreement on the Youth Card is working on the gradual transformation of the European Youth Card into a service card, particularly in three sectors regarded as priorities: accommodation, transport and insurance. Negotiations are presently under way with insurance companies.

5.       With regard to paragraph 7.iv, the CDEJ notes that, following the action undertaken by the Secretary General with the International Union of Railways to maintain the Interrail card (see the interim reply adopted to this recommendation), supported by campaigns led by young people and by the call made by the Ministers responsible for Youth at Vienna, a new product was presented in September 1993 to the organs concerned by the International Union of Railways.

      The previous Interrail card will remain but at a higher price. A system of cards for defined areas will be introduced. There will be seven areas, each grouping approximately 5 countries. The cost of buying two or three zones will be degressive and will be lower or equal to that of the former card. This product should be launched in March 1994.

      In its opinion, the CDEJ notes that the problem of the financial support of the mobility of disadvantaged young people of Western Europe and of young people from Central and Eastern countries remains. This question goes beyond the framework of technical and financial discussions; it concerns a wider approach on the policy of youth mobility and solidarity.

6.       Regarding paragraph 7.v, the CDEM believes, like the Assembly, that efforts must be made to allow young workers from Central and Eastern Europe to benefit from vocational training and work experience schemes in Western European companies or training centres. As far as procedures are concerned, the CDEM thinks that a

bilateral approach between member States, and particularly bringing together municipalities in the countries of origin and the host countries, with support from other bodies such as chambers of commerce and trade unions, would offer the best guarantees of success while keeping administrative costs to a minimum.

7.       As far as paragraphs 7.vii and viii are concerned, it is recalled that, at their 497th meeting (September 1993), the Ministers' Deputies decided upon Budapest as the place for the installation of the second European Youth Centre. Credits have been made available so that training activities in countries of Central and Eastern Europe can take place pending the opening of the second centre, scheduled for 1 August 1994. It should be added that, as regards a training programme for young leaders of youth movements, courses have already taken place in many Eastern and Central Countries, and others are presently under way. A special programme has been organised for Russia.

8.       The CDEJ could examine whether the proposal contained in paragraph 7.ix is viable, the ways in which it could be put into practice, and the time-scale involved.

9.       With regard to paragraph 7.x, Recommendation 20.e.iii. of the 4th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth foresees the organisation of a biennial conference at which the CDEJ, in co-operation with the network of youth research centres and youth organisations could evaluate the progress made in all the youth sectors. As regards the network of research correspondents in the youth field, in August 1993 the EYC asked the governments to designate their correspondents. A first meeting of the correspondents took place on 3-5 November 1993.

10.       Concerning paragraph 7.xi, concerted training actions conducted by the European Youth Centre (EYC) and the European Youth Foundation (EYF) are carried out with the assistance of the European Community and the support of the Demosthenes programme. The CDEJ feels it would be very useful, in order to have the necessary data, to prepare, in co-operation with the youth organisations, a guide describing what kind of organisations exist in these countries, the type of activities, their addresses, their correspondents, etc.