SME Chamber

Youth at the center of a Citizens` Initiative

 Vince Farrugia, GRTU Director General and EESC Employer's Representative, has this week strongly contributed to the EESC draft Opinion  on the Europe for Citizens Programme during the 2nd Study Group.

Citizens should be at the very centre of European policies. The current Europe for Citizens programme 2007-2013 provides a legal framework to support a wide range of activities and organisations promoting European citizenship. The new programme will support activities to increase awareness and citizens' understanding of the EU, its values and history, such as the remembrance of Europe's past and partnerships between cities (town-twinning). It will also help people become more engaged in civic and democratic activities. This will fit in with the Commission's plans to designate 2013 as the "European Year of Citizens, which will aim to increase citizens' participation in EU policy-making, particularly the 2014 European Parliament elections.

During the study group Vincent Farrugia insisted that the Communication should concentrate more on the problem of Youth and the disenchantment of Youth on EU economic policies. He referred to the specific case of Malta where a heavy balance has been found on fiscal discipline and policies promoting economic growth and employment.

"Youth need to be treated better so they feel more attuned to European citizenship, irrespective of the economic policies supported by the Commission, which hopefully would be transformed to the benefit of youth employment, the future of the EU depends on the younger generation that thinks on themselves first and foremost as EU citizens and not as nationals of another Member State. For this to succeed, the younger generation must feel that beyond the tremendous education possibilities and additional social fund support that the EU has provided, the EU has, through its economic policies created enough jobs and labour mobility within the union for all the younger generation to be engaged in what matters most for them: Choice of career and ability to be effectively economically engaged in the development of a greater union". Stated Vincent Farrugia.

The final EESC draft Opinion will be presented for voting during the 482nd Plenary Session on 12th July, the final document including a number of amendments proposed by Vincent Farrugia as EESC Employers representative.

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