A Green Perspective on European Youth Policy (Summary )
The Green movement is one which to a great extent emerged in response to the concerns of young people and their desire to offer a radical change in our relationship with our planet and each other. As a means of improving the living, learning and working conditions of young people, the Greens have devised a comprehensive youth policy paper. As it is vital that youth policies reflect the views and needs of young people themselves, young Greens have played a key role in devising this policy. This policy paper focuses on the following areas :
1.Education. Education should be state-subsidised at all levels and universally available. From primary education onwards, curricula should include citizenship, political and environmental education so as to prepare young people for full participation in society.
2.Employment. Young people should not only have the opportunity to access the labour market: working conditions must ensure stability and security for young people. This requires strong legislation to prevent precariousness in the job market. Young people should also be given access to internships and training programmes with fair remuneration.
3.Health. Young people are often marginalised in terms of access to medical care due to the high costs of medical insurance and medicines. There is particular need for more free medical care in schools and universities. Young people’s psychological wellbeing should also be protected by the provision of counsellors trained in child and teenage psychology. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are particularly important for young people so access to sexuality education should be available at an early stage.
4.Housing. Lack of affordable good quality housing is one of the most urgent problems young people have to deal with. Minimum standards on space, water and electricity, cooking and washing facilities etc should be rigorously enforced. Massive investment in public subsidised housing is also necessary to make housing more affordable. In the private market, special interest rates for loans or mortgages should be available for young people.
5. Citizenship and representativity .Young people are chronically under-represented in all areas of politics, public life and decision-making. Solutions to this problem include lowering the voting age to 16 but must go further than this. Governments and policy-makers must engage in meaningful dialogue with young people. Having younger candidates in elections is also important and quotas in party lists can be an effective tool in achieving this goal.
6. Mobility. Mobility is fundamental not only as a civil right, but also as a source of personal development and a way of enriching society in terms of increasing cultural diversity. For young people, an update for visa regimes with cost-free, softened and speeded up procedures so that we move towards a visa-Free Europe is crucial. In terms of local mobility, subsidised public transport should be provided to young people.
7. Leisure. As Greens, we want society to move away from notions of leisure which is too focussed on material consumption and a brief and unreal feeling of satisfaction linked to spending money. This view of leisure is dangerous both socio-economically and environmentally. Instead, we want to move towards a collective-oriented leisure culture that can help in building an active citizenship.
For the complete Youth Policy Paper, click here: