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Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the EU Youth Conference: It is vital that young people remain in the centre of European Union developments

24.10.2017

“At last year’s Summit in Bratislava, leaders of the EU set a goal of offering the best opportunities to the younger generation, combating youth unemployment and improving programmes aimed at young people. We need to keep initiatives that are important to the young in focus, so that these initiatives can occupy a significant place in the strategy papers of the European Union and in future financial frameworks,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas during the opening speech of the European Union Youth Conference, today at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel).

The four-day event has brought more than 260 young people, policy makers and people involved in the field from the EU and partnership countries to Tallinn, in order to discuss topics that are important to young people, to analyse current challenges and involve the participants in developing the new European Youth Strategy.

As positive examples from the current cooperation, Prime Minister Ratas highlighted the Erasmus programme, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, and the Youth Guarantee, which ensures that when young people become unemployed or leave school, they can get a job, continue their education or be actively involved in society in some other way as soon as possible.

In the youth field, in addition to future topics, the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU include smart youth work, which is closely linked to the general development of the digital field and innovation, participation in developing EU policies and voluntary activities. “In Estonia young people are the everyday users of digital services like e-identity, e-voting, e-school etc. In addition Open Youth Centres use e-solutions for mapping young people’s participation in their activities. These are only some examples as there are more ongoing developments in the creation of new and innovative tools for better involving young people and youth workers in learning and in society, which in turn is vital for the development of the European Union and its member states,” said Ratas.

According to the Prime Minister, voluntary activities among young people are also necessary. In December 2016, the European Commission initiated the creation of the European Solidarity Corps, which helps people between the ages of 18–30 get involved in joint activities that promote solidarity, both in their home country and abroad. During the Estonian Presidency, Estonia will work on reaching an agreement concerning the legal basis of the initiative, so that its activities could start in full in 2018.

Source: eu2017.ee