Social Inclusion and Youth

Europe 2020 Strategy and Youth

Social Inclusion is the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society. It ensures that people have a voice in decisions which affect their lives and that they enjoy equel access to markets, services, and political,social and physcial spaces.

Social inclusion is central to ending extreme poverty and fostering shared prosperity. Social inclusion is both an outcome and a process of improving the terms on which people take part in society.

The Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sets targets to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion and to increase employment of the population aged 20-64 to 75%. The flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, including the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion and the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, support efforts to reach these targets.

We have the opportunity to build together a Europe of peace, based on the respect and defence of human rights and with new forms of democracy that can truly engage Europe’s institutions with Europe’s citizens.

But what is most striking, as the Laeken Declaration makes clear, is the fact that Europe’s young people are central to the success of this vision for a truly united, peaceful and fair Europe. The rise of youth participation up the political agenda reflects significant developments in the thinking and the emphasis given to youth policy and youth work within Europe. The European Union’s Erasmus + YOUTH programme, the White Paper on Youth and the training courses run through the Council of Europe’s Youth Centres are all examples of this trend.

Young people are then firmly and rightly on the political map of Europe, their role and importance highlighted. But what exactly has all this got to do with social inclusion in youth work? The link becomes clearer when the idea of youth participation is examined more closely.

The notion of participation of young people in society, particularly in the civil and political organization of society, is developing. Participation in this context means more than mere consultation with young people about changes and initiatives that will affect their lives and shape their futures. We are talking about the participation of young people who are really representing, and representative

of, a faithful cross section of European youth. It is this last point that brings us to the crux of the matter.

It is essential that young people with fewer opportunities, indeed with the fewest opportunities, can get involved and make their contribution felt, not least because it is their fundamental right as much as any other young person.

But it is not only a matter of the intrinsic ethical value of preventing exclusion or of recognising the richness of diversity. The participation of young people with fewer opportunities is a barometer of the underlying health of our democracies and societies.

 

International Science Association is ready to be leading at social inclusion projects and activities and to assist you about social inclusion activities…

 

This article was written by the ISCASS and published in European Youth Portal.