Report from the EU Youth Conference in Croatia
EU Youth Conferences bring together young people and the EU Youth Representatives with political leaders from the European Union to discuss issues that are important to them. They develop ideas, formulate demands and enter into dialogue with political decision-makers at eye level. The results of the biannual EU Youth Conferences can be incorporated into political processes at EU level and are also followed up at national level. In spring 2020, Croatia hosted the last EU Youth Conference of the 7th EU Youth Dialogue cycle under its EU Council Presidency, thus bringing it to a close. Together with Romania and Finland, Croatia formed the so-called trio presidency of the Council of the European Union for one and a half years. The EU Youth Representatives Anna-Sophie Kloppe, Clara Drammeh and Simon Lach were part of the German delegation at the EU Youth Conference in Zagreb and gave their personal impressions in a report.
The three EU youth representatives arrived with the collected demands and concerns of young people from Germany on the topic "Moving Rural Youth Forward", which is based on Youth Goal #6 and was the focus of the conference. The results of previous EU youth conferences were also presented in various formats. The planned exchange with politicians was already under the impression of the Corona pandemic. Numerous EU politicians had cancelled their travel, so that a core element of the EU Youth Conference could not take place and the planned dialogue at eye level was made more difficult. The EU youth representatives criticise this in their report, as well as the design of the workshops and the composition of some panels in the discussions.
Besides the EU youth representatives, representatives of the national youth councils and the European Youth Forum were also present in the Croatian capital. According to the report, the exchange between the EU youth representatives present and the national youth councils was productive and enriching. In addition, the three EU youth representatives had the opportunity to exchange views with representatives of the German Federal Ministry for Youth on decision-making processes in youth policy and to explain their positions. For example, they called for the EU Youth Dialogue to be strengthened as a good instrument for effective youth participation in Germany.
From July 2020, Germany will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU and form the next trio Presidency together with the subsequent countries Portugal and Slovenia. Within the framework of the German Presidency, we as German Federal Youth Council (DBJR) are organising the first EU Youth Conference of the 8th Youth Dialogue Cycle together with the Federal Ministry for Youth. With this in mind, the EU youth representatives would like to see a modern report on the results of the dialogue and discussion formats on equal terms. A more intensive exchange of good practice between EU youth representatives and national youth councils is also particularly important to them for the next EU Youth Conference.