European Youth Councils in Exchange at Berlin Forum
Representatives from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership were present, as well as three Belgian youth councils, the Catalonian and the Spanish youth councils. As DBJR it was important for us to involve the non-EU members as well. Besides an exchange with the Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, we looked at what moves us as Youth Rings. Therefore we discussed a "Blueprint" of the European Youth Forum. It describes the ideas of young people on how Europe could emerge from the current crisis - a crisis in which young people are particularly affected. Many youth councils are in a similar situation: funds are being cut or cut back. The scope for action is becoming narrower. The precarious situation of young people is growing. Even if the youth councils are financed differently, everyone feels the pressure.
But what youth councils report goes beyond questions of financing. Corona intensifies other problems such as the mental health of young people or the situation of young LGBTQIA+. Digital formats have now created additional opportunities for exchange, especially transnational ones. But they do not replace personal contact and: Digital formats are not even financially supported in some countries.
Together the representatives of the European youth councils dared to take a look at the trio presidency, because after Germany, Slovenia and Portugal will follow. And all three together will focus on Youth Goal 9 "Spaces and participation of young people" in the youth field. Close cooperation between the three youth councils was already established before the Council Presidency. The youth councils of the trio countries work well together in the youth dialogue - for example in the European Steering Group (ESG), the decisive body at European level. At the Berlin Forum, we jointly emphasised once again the increased cooperation. Ultimately, we are all concerned not only with strengthening contacts within the EU, but also with strengthening international and European contacts beyond it. We jointly see this as an important signal in the respective Council Presidency. We are therefore currently planning a second Berlin Forum "live" following the EU Youth Conference on 6/7 October 2020.
The outlook for the Berlin Forum also included the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from November 2020 and the European Youth Work Convention planned for 7-10 December 2020.