Young People, Youth Work and
youth Policy: European Developments.
Youth Studies Ireland, 5 (2).
Recent years have seen very significant developments in the 'youth sector' at European level.
There are two major institutional contexts for these (and other) European developments,
and not surprisingly people sometimes get the two mixed up. The first is the European
Union (EU) which grew out of the European Economic Community (EEC, or 'Common
Market') established in 1957 when six member states signed the Treaty of Rome. The
membership has grown over the years to its current figure of 27 (Ireland joined in 1973)
and a succession of further treaties have amended and expanded the competences of the
'community' or 'union'; these include the Treaties of Maastricht (1993), Amsterdam (1999),
Nice (2003) and, most recently, Lisbon (2009). While the term 'economic' is no longer
included in the EU's name, economic matters remain absolutely central to its purpose.
The Council of Europe (CoE) is a different organisation. It was established in 1949,
in the aftermath of the Second World War, by ten founding members (including
Ireland) with the purpose of promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and
cultural cooperation across the continent. Its most important and best known
instrument is the European Convention on Human Rights which established (and is
enforced by) the European Court of Human Rights. For several decades the CoE's
membership was confined to the countries of western Europe but in the years following
the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (and the associated political transformations) it
grew into a genuinely pan-European organisation. It currently has 47 member states.
Both the European Union and the Council of Europe have relevance for youth,
youth work and youth policy. The CoE has played a pioneering role in these matters,
and has had a significant influence on the approach adopted by the EU. In fact the two
work closely together and in more recent years have formalised their collaboration
through the EU-CoE Youth Partnership. Keeping up to date with recent and current
developments in youth policy at European level means knowing what each
organisation is doing separately and also what they are doing jointly through the Youth
Partnership. Below is an outline of developments under each of these three headings.
||Young People; Youth Work; Youth Policy; European Union; Council of Europe;
||Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
||17 Apr 2012 15:21
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