Today, the Commission published its Flash Eurobarometer on Youth and Democracy, conducted between 22 February and 4 March 2022. With the European Year of Youth in full swing, and at the end of the Conference on the future of Europe – where youth played a crucial part – it allows to take stock of the sentiment among the young generation.
The new Eurobarometer survey shows growing youth engagement: today, a majority (58%) of young people are active in the societies they live in and have participated in one or more youth organisations over the last 12 months. This is an increase of 17 percentage points since last Eurobarometer in 2019. In addition, young people’s most common expectation for the 2022 European Year of Youth is for decision-makers to listen more to their demands and act on them, and to support their personal, social and professional development (72%). Today, the Commission is also launching a new online tool, the “Voice your Vision” platform, to make it easier for young Europeans to make their voice heard. Furthermore, policy dialogues between Members of the College and young people are organised in the framework of the Year of Youth. They give a unique opportunity to young people to get direct access to decision-makers and express face to face their vision and ideas on all policy areas.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The European Year of Youth should bring a paradigm shift in how we include young people in policy and decision-making. The objectives of the Year are to listen, engage and promote concrete opportunities for young Europeans. The Flash Eurobarometer shows clearly that this is exactly what young people in the EU wish for too.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “As we can see today, young people are increasingly involved and engaged in the future of societies. They care about peace, international cooperation, wellbeing, the environment. But, they want to be listened to and heard more. In the context of the European Year of Youth, we do our utmost to help bring their voices forward. I am happy to announce that we have launched a new online tool, the “Voice your Vision” platform, enabling young people to record their opinions and ideas for the future of the European project.”
Youth Flash Eurobarometer
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has reinforced young people’s conviction that preserving peace, reinforcing international security and promoting international cooperation is the very first objective of the EU (37%). The next highest expectations are for the EU to increase job opportunities for young people (33%), fight poverty and economic and social inequalities (32%) as well as to promote environmentally friendly policies and fight climate change (31%).
Young people see mental and physical health and wellbeing (34%), protecting the environment and fighting climate change (34%) but also education and training, including the free movement of learners (33%) as the focus areas for the European Year of Youth.
Despite the pandemic, the survey shows an increase in transnational youth mobility compared to 2019, reflecting the strong willingness to re-connect between young people across borders. About four in ten young people (39%) have participated in a professional, volunteering, learning or sporting activity in another EU country, compared to just over three in ten (31%) in 2019. The lack of financial means remains a key reason for non-participation in mobility projects, although the financial obstacle is declining (36% compared to 42% in 2019).
Finally, Eurobarometer results confirm that the Erasmus+ programme, which celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2022, is known by more than half of young respondents although some differences remain between Member States with the share of young people knowing Erasmus+ for students being largest in Greece (72%) and Cyprus (70%) and smallest in Sweden (26%).
New “Voice your Vision” platform
The Commission also launched a new online tool, which will be a central element of the European Year of Youth. On the “Voice your Vision” platform, Europeans can record their opinions and ideas for the future of the European project. They can touch upon any issue of importance to them, from employment, inclusion, peace and security, to climate change, education, mental health, and more. The “Voice your Vision” platform lives up to the European Year of Youth’s ambition of giving young people the means to contribute to public debate and decision-making.