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Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

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Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

The European Union (EU) supports young people with fewer opportunities by helping them to realise their full potential and strengthening their participation in society.


Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 22 May 2008 on the participation of young people with fewer opportunities [Official Journal, C 141, 7.6.2008].


Young people with fewer opportunities in society face specific difficulties because they come from less privileged educational, socio-economic or geographical backgrounds, or have a disability.

Their participation in the democratic, economic and cultural life of society needs to be given special attention at both national and Community level.

Strategic Approach

This Resolution invites Member States and the Commission to give priority to young people in vulnerable situations when implementing the Lisbon Strategy, the measures in the European Pact for Youth and national flexicurity strategies.

Member States must adopt an interdisciplinary approach when developing their specific policies and programmes. These strategies must be of a long-term nature and include early intervention measures. Guaranteeing easier access to EU programmes and Structural Funds will also support the social inclusion and participation in society of young people.

In particular, the Council invites the Commission to:

  • study national good practices in order to identify possible lines of action at European level that will facilitate the social inclusion of young people and their participation in society;
  • take these objectives into account when proposing the priorities for the future framework of cooperation in the field of youth.

Social Inclusion

The social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities must be a priority at both national and Community level. The EU social protection and social inclusion process helps to fight discrimination and to promote equal opportunities. Furthermore, as regards policies on health and living conditions, the social, economic and other factors that determine the well-being of young people need to be better monitored and studied.

Member States and the Commission must take action against social exclusion and against the intergenerational transmission of economic inactivity by supporting access to good employment opportunities and by improving the mechanisms for vocational guidance and counselling.

Active Citizenship

The Council requires Member States and the Commission to conduct a structured dialogue that is inclusive and suitable for all. Democratic and community involvement can be enhanced by informing young people and by developing innovative forms of participation, particularly through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Member States must support the work of youth organisations and social organisations, in particular by providing professional development opportunities for managers and youth workers.


The European Pact for Youth contributes to the implementation of the renewed Lisbon Strategy.

It aims to improve education and training for young people, as well as their mobility. It gives priority to young people with fewer opportunities.

In this context, the Youth in Action Programme specifically encourages young people to participate in public life and fosters their spirit of initiative, entrepreneurship and creativity.


Presidency Conclusions, 13 and 14 March 2008. 7652/1/08 (pdf).

The Council reaffirms the social dimension of the Lisbon Strategy. The priorities identified are combating poverty and social exclusion, promoting active inclusion and increasing employment opportunities for those furthest from the labour market.

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 25 May 2007 on creating equal opportunities for all young people – full participation in society [Official Journal – 2007/C 314/01].

The Council notes that equality of opportunity means the right of all young people to a quality lifestyle, education, training, housing and work, and to access to social security, employment systems and social and political discussion.

The Council invites the Commission and all Member States to maintain a structured dialogue with young people in a variety of ways and to strengthen the impact of the open method of coordination when shaping policies for equal opportunities and social and professional integration.

The Council invites Member States to develop the regional and local dimensions of the European Pact for Youth and to enhance the effect that national policy has on the quality of life of young people.

See also

For more information, visit the website of the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture, the European Youth Portal and the website of the European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Last updated: 20.01.2009