Ahead of the European Social Summit in Porto, StartNet and CESI Youth hosted an online event on “Delivering Social Rights to Young People”. Speakers included among others the Portuguese State Secretary for Youth, João Paulo Rebelo, MEP Kim van Sparrentak, as well as European and national youth representatives.
Young people from Italy, Spain, France and Germany contributed via video testimonies, sharing their experience, difficulties and dreams for a better future for youth in Europe.
Young people are facing a particularly challenging situation which was aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with rising youth unemployment, poverty and exclusion. 90% of the event’s participants estimated that the political response for young people so far has been insufficient or totally lacking behind.
So what should be done? The speakers underlined some first European responses such as the European Pillar of Social Rights, its new Action Plan, or the Youth Guarantee, but also requested more commitment and action at national level. The audience voted that young people should be involved in these processes and empowered to be part of the solution (59%). Moreover, quality education, training, internships and apprenticeships were seen as essential for young people to enter the labour market (71%). At the same time, investment into sustainable, quality jobs is needed.
The results of the Youth in Porto event are being channeled to the European Social Summit on 7-8 May, where EU Member States will outline their commitments and future actions for inclusion and social rights in Europe. The Slovenian Presidency will keep up the momentum and continue the collaboration with civil society and young people during the second half of 2021.
By connecting policy and practice, discussing challenges and solutions, the Youth in Porto event made a contribution to improved discourse and enhanced action for young people’s social inclusion, education and transition to work.
Particular thanks go to the co-host CESI Youth, all speakers, participants and most of all to all young people for their contribution and commitment.