On 30 May – 2 June 2016 the EU-CoE youth partnership organised the symposium ‘(Un)Equal Europe? Responses from the youth sector’, in order to take stock of the social inclusion aspects in youth policies and explore possible approaches. The symposium drew inspiration from other sectors dealing with inequalities and strengthened the potential of the youth sector to adapt its approaches in supporting groups of young people facing multiple inequalities across Europe. 80-100 participants were invited to represent the various fields of policy, research and practice.
It explored the range of horizontal and vertical inequalities young people face in today’s Europe and developed solutions through dialogue between practitioners, researchers and policy-makers. Participants discussed about rights-based approaches to inclusion and social justice building, as well as the potential and limits of youth policy and youth work in dealing with the social, geographic, economic and other forms of inequalities young people experience across Europe. They analysed the personal experiences of structural and contextual barriers to inclusion, as identified in a two-year process of mapping barriers to social inclusion by the EU-CoE Youth Partnership. The symposium also took into account the current situation of the newly arriving refugees and asylum seekers and their necessary integration. Finally, the symposium looked at good practices across Europe, where young people have mobilised, engaged with the democratic process and have generated change, whether large or small scale.
Recognising the precarious situation and disadvantages facing youth in Europe today and the effects on their access to rights, main discussions where about:
-Is the youth sector adjusting its approaches in policy, research and practice to address the challenges young people face in their daily reality in Europe today?
-What is immigration bringing to Europe’s youth and to young migrants?
-How can youth work facilitate the integration process of young refugees?
-Is research offering the right insights for better policy?
-What can the youth sector do to help young people who are facing barriers to social inclusion find their way in societies and prevent marginalization?
-How does youth sector cooperate with and intervene in other areas affecting young people’s lives?
How could cross-sectoral approaches support better inclusion of young people?
Which policy fields can contribute and how?
Objectives of the symposium To discuss and disseminate knowledge on inequalities, in particular in the areas of participation and social inclusion of young people in Europe and beyond; To share good practice in youth work and youth policy relevant to the key questions of the Symposium; To identify challenges and research gaps, draw conclusions and formulate recommendations, as well as to propose models of youth policy and youth work interventions; To support knowledge-based youth policy and practice for fighting against inequalities through networking, dialogue, and peer learning; To connect youth, policy-makers, practitioners and researchers.