Anca Elena Ursu comments on the resolutions and recommendations passed during the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum in February 2015
The Eastern Partnership Youth Forum (EPYF) took place in Riga between the 9th and the 12th of February, within the broader context of the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council. Since the presidency rotates amongst EU Member States every six months, the beginning of the year saw Latvia taking took over the Italian one, its mandate due to conclude in June. The Forum presented member states with a framework to address institutional concerns and the Baltic state did so promptly. Three priorities were highlighted, namely Competitive Europe, Digital Europe and Engaged Europe with immediate strategies for fulfillment of the goals saw discussion and implementation. The outcome is to be measured in the discourse featured during the forum, which saw Latvia advocating for more jobs, advanced digitalization and global commitment.
EPYF forms an important element of the Competitive Europe scheme and during the three days of meeting in Riga saw governmental agencies, corporate institutions, members of the academia, young professionals, students and practitioners mingling in workshops and making practical recommendations for the Commission. The aim of the organisers was to develop potential solutions for diminishing youth unemployment through innovative approaches, by boosting cross-sectorial cooperation at a local, regional and transnational levels.
Behind closed doors, the gap between the practical skills learned by young people and the perception of those skills by employers was discussed. One major issue is the discrepancy in youth workers and employers’ incompatibility in communication. The forum further saw recommendations that push toward greater cooperation between organizations, businesses and communities and a wider appreciation of cross-sectorial skills and informal education. Volunteering was one of the key strategies for those involved in EPYF, now considered a highly valuable entry on one’s curriculum vitae alongside non-traditional means of acquiring competencies.
These recommendations will eventually be used in the policy-making process in the upcoming months and as a long-term action plan for youth organizations and government staff. The synergy within the forum reflects onto the nature of the Latvian presidency – there is little time for small talk. The latter has been replaced with constructive approaches toward the country’s future.
Anca Elena Ursu