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Doc. 8016

12 February 1998

European youth co-operation and recent proposals for structural change

Report

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteurs: Mrs Ivana Plechatá, Czech Republic, European Democratic Group and Mr Roman Jakič, Slovenia, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

Summary

      Three different aspects are at stake: encouraging the participation of young people in political and institutional life in general, solving problems that affect young people and setting up a framework for youth co-operation in the Council of Europe.

      The Assembly confirms its support to the co-management system in the European Youth Centres and Foundation, decides to widen and diversify its co-operation with young people and recommends that certain principles be taken into account in the current review of Council of Europe youth structures.

I.        Draft recommendation

1. The Assembly recognises young people as the future of Europe and a positive force for present change. The Council of Europe should therefore consider them as a priority target for, and partners in, its activities.

2. It has drawn attention to the importance of the participation of young people in institutional and political life in its reports on group participation (1975), youth co-operation in Europe (1980), on the participation of young people (1985), on youth representation (1990) and on the European Youth Centre in Budapest (1996.

3. The Assembly acknowledges the major role played by youth organisations in the opening up of central and eastern Europe, and in the promotion of the ideals of the Council of Europe, in particular in the campaign against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance, and recalls the importance of their present involvement in the Euro-Mediterranean youth dialogue.

4.       The Assembly is aware however that only a small percentage of young people are organised in a traditional way. However the activities of youth organisations benefit a larger number of young people than their members. Already in 1980 the Assembly stressed the importance of “also involving young people who do not belong to recognised youth organisations”.Today it feels that further efforts are needed to identify and reach young people and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to associate them with the work of the Council of Europe.

5.       The promotion by the Assembly of initiatives concerning young political leaders and its active involvement in the Democratic Leadership Programme are examples of this concern.

6.       The Assembly has also tackled some of young people’s present social and economic concerns such as youth unemployment, mobility in central and eastern Europe, drugs, marginalised youth, or rural youth.

7. In order to pursue such problems further, there is a need to ensure co-operation between the youth sector and other sectors of the Council of Europe, namely the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, the Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, and the Human Rights Directorate.

8. The Committee on Culture and Education has been following the current review of policy, activities and institutions in the youth field of the Council of Europe launched by the Ministers Deputies and the Secretary General and has held exchanges of views with different bodies involved.

9.       The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers take into account the following points in reviewing priorities and structures in the youth sector in the Council of Europe:

i.       the participation of youth representatives in the decision-making process (co management system) should be maintained at the same level as in the present situation;

ii. social workers, researchers and other new partners who work for young people may be consulted or invited as resource;

iii. consideration should be given to the advisability of maintaining a specific steering committee for intergovernmental co-operation in the youth field;

iv.       co-ordination should be ensured with other sectors without recourse to the creation of further intermediate structures;

v.       the European Youth Centre in Budapest should be reassured of its original equivalent status with the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg and not be relegated to being a “second class” centre for east European young people;

vi.       no re-structuration should be undertaken with the effect of diminishing the financial and staff allocation of the youth sector;

vii. contributions to the budget of the European Youth Foundation should be made compulsory for all the signatories of the European Cultural Convention and the choice of activities to be supported by the European Youth Foundation should continue to be the sole responsibility of its Governing Board;

viii. co-operation with the European Union should be strengthened.

II.        Draft resolution

1. The Assembly recognises young people as the future of Europe and a positive force for present change. Therefore it considers them as a priority target for, and partners in, its activities.

2. It acknowledges the major role played by youth organisations in the opening up of central and eastern Europe, and in the promotion of the ideals of the Council of Europe, in particular in the campaign against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance and the importance of their present involvement in the Euro-Mediterranean youth dialogue.

3. It recalls the five round tables between parliamentarians and youth representatives organised by its Committee on Culture and Education, between 1988 and 1994, in co-operation with the Council of European National Youth Committees (CENYC) and the European Co-ordinating Bureau of international youth organisations (ECB). These two platforms have since merged into the European Youth Forum.

4. In general the Assembly wishes to encourage the widening of the range of young people involved in Council of Europe activities and is aware that this need not be via traditional youth organisations.

5. The Assembly confirms its active support for the Democratic Leadership Programme through its Political Affairs Committee and the Committee on Culture and Education and in co-operation with the European Union and other non-governmental bodies such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the International Institute for Democracy.

6. It also        decides to increase co-operation with youth organisations and in particular with the European Youth Forum with a view to finding new partnerships.

III.        Explanatory memorandum by Mrs Plechatá and Mr Roman Jakič

1.        Background

In the governmental framework of the Council of Europe the “youth sector” comprises activities carried out the European Youth Centres (EYCs), in Strasbourg and in Budapest, the European Youth Foundation (EYF), which have a common Governing Board and Advisory Committee, and the European Steering Committee for Intergovernmental Co-operation in the youth field (CDEJ).

The European Youth Centre in Strasbourg came into existence in 1971 and became operational as from June 1972. The European Youth Foundation was set in 1973 and became a permanent body in 1975. The European Youth Centre in Budapest was opened in 1995.

Both Centres are residential and aimed primarily at the training of youth leaders through in-house activities. The European Youth Foundation, on the other hand, supports activities proposed by youth organisations but which take place outside the European Youth Centres.

The programme of activity of the Centres and the activities to be supported by the Foundation are decided upon by the Governing Board, consisting of an equal number of representatives of governments and of international non-governmental youth organisations. This co-management system is recognised by youth organisations as a very valuable expression of co-operation between youth organisations and governments and an essential tool for the development of youth work in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly has two non-voting seats in this board. The Governing Board reports to the Committee of Ministers.

An Advisory Committee consisting of 25 youth representatives: sixteen from international non-governmental youth organisations, eight from national youth organisations and one representing young people who are not organised, acts as a consultative body to the Governing Board.

The CDEJ was set up by the Committee of Ministers in 1988 to promote intergovernmental co-operation in the youth field and to serve as a forum for the examination of national youth policies. It comprises senior civil servants from Council of Europe member states and Contracting Parties to the European Cultural Convention. The Parliamentary Assembly is entitled to appoint two representatives to the CDEJ.

While the Centres (and intergovernmental co-operation) are financed mainly through the budget of the Council of Europe, the Foundation is an independent body financed by voluntary contributions of member States. All the members of the Council of Europe are members of the EYF but not all of them contribute to its budget: Albania, Croatia, Russia and Ukraine have never made any contribution, Bulgaria has not paid for 1994, 1995 and 1997 and in 1997 the United Kingdom decided to interrupt its financial participation.

At the outset the youth sector was integrated in the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport and therefore youth co-operation extends to all the signatories of the European Cultural Convention. Since 1992 a separate Youth Directorate services the EYCs, the EYF and the CDEJ.

2. Recent developments in youth organisations

The main partners of the Council of Europe in the youth sector are the international non-governmental youth organisations (INGYOs) and the National Youth Committees. The majority of INGYOs were affiliated to the European Co-ordinating Bureau of international youth organisations (ECB). It was created to provide information and to facilitate and promote co-operation between European youth.

The National Youth Committees were grouped in the Council of European National Youth Committees (CENYC) which represented these committees internationally, for example in the statutory bodies of the European Youth Centres and Foundation.

A Youth Forum of the European Union was set up as a platform for the youth organisations vis-ŕ-vis the institutions of the EU. It represents over seventy national committees and international youth organisations of the member countries of the European Union.

In December 1996 CENYC and ECB decided to dissolve themselves and merge with the Youth Forum of the European Union in a single European youth platform, labelled the European Youth Forum, which became fully operational in January 1997. This development caused some concern, especially in non-European Union countries.

3. Budget of the youth sector

In 1990 there were 23 countries members of the Council of Europe. At that time the budget of the youth sector amounted to 23.3 Million FF. Five years later this had increased to 34.1 M FF and the membership of the organisation had increased to 33 countries. The budget of the youth field for 1997 is 37.5 M FF while the Council of Europe has 40 member countries. The relative importance of the budget of the youth sector has been steadily decreasing: in 1990 it represented 4.9% of the budget of the Council of Europe, in 1995 it represented 4.3% and in 1997 only 3.8%.

The number of permanent staff working in the youth sector was 29 in 1990, 36 in 1995 and is 42 in 1997.

4. Reassessment of the youth sector of the Council of Europe

In December 1996 the Committee of Ministers decided to instruct its Rapporteur Group on Youth to carry out, in consultation with the CDEJ and the Governing Board of the EYCs and the EYF, a detailed review of policy, activities and institutions in the youth sector of the Council of Europe.

The Secretary General proposed a parallel evaluation by a group of experts with experience of youth work and of the Council of Europe, led by Mr Daniel Menschaert (Belgian Ministry of Youth), a former chairperson of the Governing Board of the EYC and of the Board of Assessors for the Budapest EYC, who presented his report in September 1997.

The mandate of the report was to analyse changes in the youth field from 1970s to 1990s and to make proposals for revising the priorities of youth work in the Council of Europe and for adapting its structures consequently.

The study, however, is also a response to concern expressed by governments about co-management and the excessive influence of youth organisations.

Following a lengthy analysis of changes in society in the last three decades, Mr Menschaert focused his proposals on six main points (see Appendix):

• innovating and preserving what has been achieved;

• adjusting priorities;

• reform of the statutory organs;

• the roles of the European Youth Centres and the EYF ;

• funding of activities;

• the Youth Directorate.

5. Position of the CDEJ on the Menschaert report

The European Steering Committee for Intergovernmental Co-operation in the Youth Field (CDEJ) discussed the Menschaert report at its October meeting and felt that it was a good basis for discussion on restructuring the youth sector.

The CDEJ however did not support the setting up of a task force in charge of trans-sectoral co-operation in the youth field between different Directorate of the Council of Europe and felt that co-management should be preserved.

It agreed with the following proposals:

6. Position of the Advisory Committee on the Menschaert report

The Advisory Committee of the European Youth Centres and the European Youth Foundation prepared a position paper giving its reaction to the report prepared by Mr Menschaert and making proposals on reforming the youth policy of the Council of Europe.

The Advisory Committee criticises strongly the Menschaert report for not reflecting accurately the present situation of youth organisations and for not giving them credit for their recent evolution.

It agrees however that the Youth Directorate should increase inter-sector co-operation and co-operation with the European Union, the latter based on complementarity.

The main disagreement about the proposed structural reforms lies in the fact that for the Advisory Committee the role of the youth organisations would be significantly diminished in the new structure of the youth sector and at the same time the process of decision-making would be more complicated.

The Advisory Committee also disagrees on the question of new partners of the youth sector. It would rather prefer to recognise as new partners youth groups, networks and less formal forms of youth participation than to include into a new Advisory Council youth researchers, social workers and professionals, as it is proposed in the Menschaert report.

The above mentioned positions of the CDEJ and the Advisory Committee were communicated by their respective chairpersons to the Ministers Deputies Rapporteur Group on Youth in a joint meeting which took place on 16 October 1997.

7. Further developments

The Committee on Culture and Education held another exchange of views on this issue with Mr Daniel Menschaert and the Youth Director, Mr Marziale, at its meeting in Paris on 8 December 1997.

Mr Menschaert felt that structural changes were necessitated by profound changes in the historical context in which the sector had been set up and that the principal idea in the proposals for reform of the youth sector of the Council of Europe was to preserve the essential achievements of this organisation in the youth field and to prevent other fora from taking over European youth policy from the Council of Europe. The proposed reforms would simplify the present structure by introducing only one politically responsible organ and by giving a more central role to the CDEJ. Young people would participate in the work of a Programming Committee, which would be a purely executive body. The proposed Task Force was only one of several possible tools to co-ordinate the youth policy of the Council of Europe and to provide a link between the Youth Directorate and other sectors of the Organisation.

Mr Marziale said that the political will of governments, expressed during the Ministerial Conference in Vienna, in favour of a comprehensive and integrated youth policy, was much more important than any structural changes. He pointed out that the Governing Board had always had autonomy in selecting the activities within its programme. The proposal to submit co-managed activities to the steering committee could entail a change in the procedure because the agreement of the Committee of Ministers would be requested in advance. Activities which might be considered “controversial” would run the risk of no longer being selected.

The Bureau of the Governing Board of the European Youth Centres and Foundation held a consultative meeting on the future of the Council of Europe Youth Sector on 14-15 December 1997. Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly and of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe were invited to this meeting in which the respective positions of the two bodies were re-affirmed.

8. Position of the Assembly

a) Participation

Since the 1970s the Parliamentary Assembly has always very much supported the active involvement of youth representatives in institutional and political life. This includes involvement in the work of the Council of Europe and that of the Assembly. Its interest in the youth field has been essentially on participation and training, the promotion of the European Youth Centres and the European Youth Foundation and of their work with European youth organisations with grass-roots links, training and co-management.

Work by the Committee on Culture and Education along those lines include the reports presented by Mr Vitter on group participation by young people (1975), Mr Foulkes on youth co-operation in Europe (1980), Mr Martinez on the participation of young people (1985), Mr Kollwelter on youth representation (1990), and Sir Russell Johnston on the European Youth Centre in Budapest (1996).

Although acknowledging that the partners of the Council of Europe youth policy are the youth organisations according to the statutes of the European Youth Centres and the statutes of the European Youth Foundation, the Assembly is well aware that only a small percentage of young people are organised and able to formulate their needs. Already in 1980, it stressed the importance of “also involving young people who do not belong to recognised youth organisations”.

Nevertheless the youth organisations and the European platforms CENYC and ECB provided an effective way of accessing a cross-section of European youth. On this basis the Committee organised, between 1988 and 1994, five round tables between parliamentarians and youth representatives. As referred to above the platforms have since merged into the European Youth Forum.

The promotion by the Assembly of initiatives concerning young political leaders and its active involvement in the Democratic Leadership Programme are examples of its concern for participation and training.

Further efforts are needed to identify and reach a wider group of young people, and in particular young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In general we would like to aim at widening the range of young people involved in Council of Europe activities. This need not be via traditional youth organisations (which in central and Eastern Europe have still to shake off the shadows of the past). New partnerships have to be found. We should pursue this further with the Forum.

As far as representation in the bodies of the European Youth Centres and Foundation is concerned, the basic principle should be to encourage young people to organise themselves rather than having them represented by social workers, researchers or any other groups. While researchers might be consulted or invited as resource persons they should not take part in the decision making process.

Youth participation should be maintained as a primary goal. It is important that young people take part in decision-making. The Parliamentary Assembly should continue to support the co-management principle of the youth sector, which is recognised by youth organisations as important and unique to the Council of Europe.

b) Youth questions

The Assembly has also been concerned with several particular questions affecting young people. This has involved several committees: for example the report of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development on youth unemployment (1996) and current work by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on rural youth. The work of the Committee on Culture and Education included reports on sport, education and more specifically on exchanges (1980), youth mobility (1982) and marginalised youth (1996).

c)       Structures for co-operation

Your rapporteurs agree with the Menschaert report that there is a need to ensure effective co-operation between the youth sector and other sectors of the Council of Europe, namely the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, the Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, the Human Rights Directorate.

On the other hand, the need for a steering committee for intergovernmental co-operation in the youth field is not clear to us. Further, we would oppose a supplementary structure such as a permanent “Task Force” (although temporary task forces for specific purposes might be appropriate in particular situations). A clear definition of the respective roles of those involved should suffice.

We do not agree with the Menschaert report when it states that the Budapest European Youth Centre should concentrate on activities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe: this is precisely what it should not do. As Sir Russell Johnston put it in his report on the Budapest EYC “care was taken not to describe it as a “second” Centre, or one for “second class” East European young people” (Doc. 7501). Local needs should be met by a network of European Youth Centres to be set up.

d)       Funding

Financial resources are a weak point of the youth sector. The European Youth Foundation has a particular problem with financial contributions from certain member States. Improvement of the functioning of the youth sector depends upon the solution of such budgetary problems. Contributions to the European Youth Foundation should be made compulsory.

Given the importance of young people for the future of Europe and the pioneering work of the Council of Europe in this area it is unacceptable that re-structuration should have the effect of diminishing the financial and staff allocations of the youth sector.

APPENDIX

Proposals of the Menschaert report

a) Innovating and preserving what has been achieved

The report points out that determination of the youth policy of the Council of Europe should be done in partnership with young people. It must be a policy decided upon for young people with young people.

It stresses the need to reform the Advisory Committee and to review the concept of co-management.

The list of the organisations recognised by the Council of Europe, and consequently the beneficiaries of subsidies, should be enlarged to include networks of youth workers and young people not belonging to any organisation.

The intergovernmental sector (CDEJ) should study a code of ethics for relations between the state and youth organisations. It is suggested that the Council of Europe define a reference framework for co-operation between governments and youth organisations in the context of action programmes drawn up by the former.

b) Adjusting priorities

The report stresses the need for the youth sector to develop a policy of partnership with the other sectors of the Council of Europe. There should be coherence in the programmes concerning young people and a trans-sectoral approach to priorities in the youth field. It is proposed that this should be achieved through the setting-up of a “Youth Task Force” under the direct responsibility of the Secretary General. Examples of programmes in other sectors with which the Youth Directorate should be associated are: education for citizenship, language learning, the democratic leadership programme and the Pompidou Group programmes for the prevention of drug addiction.

The priority tasks for the Youth Directorate should be to develop a European identity based on common values; to encourage youth mobility and to contribute, through an action programme, to the implementation of the Council of Europe’s priorities with particular emphasis on democratic consolidation, social cohesion and the fight against racism and xenophobia.

The Youth Directorate should also seek genuine participation from the new member countries of the Council of Europe. The action programme should consist in training projects, symposia and production units, language courses and joint working groups of the Advisory Council and the CDEJ.

It is also proposed that “new multipliers” should be identified in order to make the activities of the youth sector accessible to young people, with a special attention to disadvantaged and marginalised young people.

The needs for a closer co-operation with the European Union and for regional co-operation are also mentioned.

c)       Reform of the statutory organs

The report states that the numerous changes in the youth sector of the Council of Europe (creation of the Youth Directorate, setting up of the CDEJ, the new Youth Centre in Budapest and a joint Governing Board) have made the general structure of the youth sector confused and ineffective. In some cases the various bodies duplicate each other.

Structural reform should simplify the operational function of the sector; clearly define the role and competence of each statutory organ; identify a single structure with “political” responsibility; clarify the relationship between the statutory organs; re-define youth representation and enable participation.

Of the different options proposed, the report clearly favours that which maintains both the central role of the CDEJ (governmental body) and the co-management principle. It proposes the creation of a “General Programming Committee” organised on a parity basis: the CDEJ bureau and 6 representatives of an “Advisory Council”. This body should assess activities and allocate tasks to the Centres and Foundation. The Advisory Council in its turn should be enlarged to the representatives of national and local advisory bodies, representatives of pilot projects, researchers, and social workers. The role of this body would be to inform the CDEJ and various organs of the Council of Europe on all youth policy issues. The CDEJ would have a highly political role being the sole link with the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly. It would lay down priorities and set out the guidelines, aims and target publics of the various action programmes and allocate budgets to them. At the same time it should inform the “Youth Task Force” of its activities and priorities.

d)       The roles of the European Youth Centres and the EYF

The European Youth Centres and the European Youth Foundation are seen by the Menschaert report as the practical tools for implementing the Council of Europe’s youth policy. The various activities organised through these structures should be re-focused on the promotion of social and cultural integration of young people and on their participation in society.

It is proposed that the EYCs focus their work on training courses. Moreover, the participation at such courses should be enlarged to governmental officials responsible for youth affairs, youth workers, and other professionals.

The role of the two Centres should be specialised. Alongside its traditional activities the EYC in Strasbourg should be in charge of the research and documentation sector and should support the activities of the Advisory Council and of the CDEJ.

The Budapest European Youth Centre should, according to the Menschaert report, be more concentrated on youth activities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and should also accommodate local and regional cultural activities. It should also help implementing other Council of Europe programmes in its region, as for example confidence-building measures. More resources should be placed at its disposal to develop its regional vocation.

The European Youth Foundation should maintain its relative independence from the Council of Europe in management terms, but its budget should be included in a single Youth Directorate budget.

Although recognising that the EYF has played a significant role in opening up the Council of Europe to the new member states, the report notes that the financial aid granted by the EYF has been limited to a small number of the youth organisations. It is therefore proposed to amend the statute of the Foundation and to review the criteria governing the award of grants to enable it to broaden the scope of its operations.

e)       Funding of activities

The proposed financial reforms include two main changes:

• introduction of a single budget for all youth sector activities;

• compulsory member states’ contribution to the EYF.

      In addition, the involvement of external resources would be encouraged, for example co-funding of joint programmes with the European Union and other external partners and contributions from youth organisations involved in the projects financed by the EYF.

      The allocation of administrative grants to support the voluntary sector should also be reconsidered for the benefit of young people in the new member states and of local and regional associations open to disadvantaged publics.

f)       The Youth Directorate

According to the Menschaert report, the Youth Directorate should play a major role in ensuring the coherence of the activities in the youth sector of the Council of Europe and in particular in the proposed “Youth Task Force”.

The Directorate should be reorganised by dividing the tasks and setting up teams by project and programme. The EYF should be placed under the responsibility of a Director, also responsible for managing the team of tutors.

A Governing Committee should be created to co-ordinate the activities of the Directorate. It would comprise a general Director, the Directors of the two Youth Centres, and the Director of the EYF.

Finally, the research and publication sector should be under the direct responsibility of the Directorate with a special budget, independent of the activities decided upon by the joint management structure.

Reporting committee: Committee on Culture and Education

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None.

Reference to the committee:Recommendation 1191 (1992) and Order n° 480

Draft recommendation: unanimously adopted by the committee on 29 January 1998

Members of the committee: Lord Russell-Johnston (Chairman), Mr Probst, Mrs Verspaget, Mr Zingeris (Vice-Chairmen), MM Arnason, Arzilli, Bartumeu Cassany, Bauer, Baumel, Mrs Camilleri, MM Corrao (alt.: Volcic), de Decker, Diaz de Mera, Dumitrescu, Mrs Fehr, Mrs Fleeetwood, Mrs Fyfe, Mrs Garajova, MM Gellért Kis, Glotov, Mrs Groenver, MM Gül, Hadjidemetriou, Mrs Isohookana-Asunmaa, MM Ivanov, Jakic, Jarab, Mrs Katseli, MM Kiely, Koucky, Kriedner, Mrs Laternser, Lazarescu, Legendre, Lemoine, Libicki, Liiv, Mrs Maximus, MM O’Hara, Pereira Marques, Polydoras, Mrs Poptodorova, MM de Puig, Radic (alt.: Domljan), Ragno, Regenwetter, Risari, Rockenbauer (alt.: Hegyi), Roseta, Mrs Rugate (alt.: Mrs Kusnere) Mrs Saele, Mrs Schicker, Mrs Stefani, MM Sudarenkov, Symonenko, Tanik, Mrs Terborg, MM Urbanczyk, Vangelov, Verbeek, Mrs Vermot-Mangold, Mrs Wärnersson, MM Yavorivsky.

NB: The names of those who took part in the vote are in italics

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Ary, Ms Theophilova, Ms Kostenko