Doc. 9219

21 September 2001

Situation and prospects of young people in rural areas Recommendation 1530 (2001)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 765th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (19 September 2001)

The Committee of Ministers has considered Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1530 (2001) on the situation and prospects of young people in rural areas. The Committee of Ministers is aware that, unfortunately, young people in rural areas in Europe still encounter many difficulties, including social and, especially, economic ones, as a result of urbanisation and rural decline. Indeed, the Committee of Ministers agrees with the Assembly’s approach that the solution might be to give young people and their representative organisations a greater say in the preparation, at both national and European levels, of both youth and rural development policies.

The Committee wishes to recall that the Youth Directorate of the Council of Europe in 1998 organised, in co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly, a symposium entitled “Youth participation in rural development”, aimed at developing an integrated approach towards rural development and youth policies, as well as enhancing and setting up new co-operation between governmental and non-governmental partners. The conclusions of this symposium served as a basis for the report of the Parliamentary Assembly on the situation and prospects of young people in rural areas.

Moreover, rural youth organisations, such as the International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC) or the European Committee for Young Farmers and 4H clubs are partners of the youth sector and participate in the activities of this sector of the Council of Europe. For example, the above-mentioned symposium was the result of work started during a study session “Too young for rural areas?” held in 1997.

The review of national youth policies, undertaken on a regular basis by the CDEJ, could be a good tool to continue to examine the situation of young people in rural areas. It could form the basis for a thematic approach and comparative study and give an opportunity for a regional approach to common problems.

Mobility and exchanges allow particularly young people to develop their experience and knowledge as well as facilitating the sharing of information. The seminar on obstacles to youth mobility, planned for 2002, could also be a good occasion to examine the specific problems of young people from rural areas as regards mobility.

The evaluation of Recommendation No. R (94) 4 on voluntary service, which is currently being conducted, could give an opportunity to study how voluntary service is accepted and seen by young people in rural areas, how it could give them the opportunity to learn new skills and competences, etc.

The evaluation of Recommendation No. R (90) 7 on youth information and counselling, which will be undertaken in the period 2001-2002 in co-operation with the European Agency for Youth Information and Counselling, will give an insight into the situation regarding youth information in rural areas, in particular in Eastern European countries. In addition, the symposium on “Youth, actor of social change?”, which will be organised in December 2001, will study how young people in rural areas can contribute to social changes, and the promotion of the Charter of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) on youth participation at local and regional level should be used as a means of encouraging young people to participate more actively in local political life in rural areas.