EU Youth Conference Highlights the Importance of Youth Policy

People ♦ Published: July 13, 2022; 13:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the course of the EU Youth Conference in Prague, Austria's State Secretary for Youth Claudia Plakolm stressed the importance of young people having a say in politics.

Austria's State Secretary for Youth at the EU Youth Conference. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Arno Melicharek

Austria's State Secretary for Youth, Claudia Plakolm, was the only foreign member of the government to attend the EU Youth Conference in Prague. She was invited to the conference in Prague by Petr Gazdík, the former Czech Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.

"Associations and organisations in Austria do a great deal for living together and for society itself. Without the numerous volunteers in our country, Austria would not function in many areas. So it was also clear to us that we want to get young people who have been displaced from Ukraine into voluntary work and thus right into the heart of society," said Youth State Secretary Claudia Plakolm during the opening panel of the three-day EU Youth Conference in Prague.

Like the other participants, Plakolm first presented best practice examples on the topics of "Inclusive Societies" and "Sustainable Green Europe".

She also gave an insight into the Buddy Programme for young people from Ukraine and praised the achievements of Austrian associations and organisations in this context.

In the area of "Sustainable Green Europe", Claudia Plakolm referred to the planned CO2 pricing in Austria and the urgent expansion of renewable energies in order to become independent of Russian gas. Again, however, she stressed: "Nuclear power can never be green. That must be clear even in this difficult situation." Afterwards, a discussion took place with the participating young people.

The State Secretary also spoke about the right to vote from the age of 16, which was introduced in Austria 15 years ago. "Every decision that is made is youth policy, because we young people have to live with these decisions the longest. Therefore, it also makes sense that young people have a say," Plakolm said.

Following the youth conference, the State Secretary held a bilateral discussion with the new Czech Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Vladimír Balaš, at the Ministry of Education. In addition to getting to know each other, the discussion focused on the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, with a special focus on youth issues.

What is the EU Youth Conference?

The EU Youth Conference is an informal meeting of youth (individuals) from EU countries and outside the EU on a specific topic chosen by PRES, but reflecting the priorities of the EC in meeting the objectives of the EU Youth Strategy.

These conferences are complemented by the participation of directors of youth unions from the relevant ministries of the EU countries (DG meeting either precedes or follows the conference). The program includes meetings in working groups, workshops and presentation of conclusions in plenary.

Federal Chancellery of Austria