Online Toolkit

Part 2 - The EuroMed

Key Actors of Youth Cooperation in the EuroMed

Euro-Med Youth Programme

Proposed as a "permanent dialogue between young people from the 37 Euro-Mediterranean partners," the Euro-Med Youth Programme aims to foster mutual understanding among young people, integrate young people into social and professional life, and to contribute to the process of democratization of civil society.[31]

It is a regional programme set up within the framework of the third chapter of the Barcelona Process, entitled "Partnership in Social, Cultural and Human affairs." It aims to increase co-operation between national agencies and Euro-Med youth units, with the goal of bringing actions as close as possible to the beneficiaries - young people - while adapting it to the diversity of national systems and situations in the field of youth. The programme's geographical scope comprises 36 countries: the 27 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) and the 8 Mediterranean partner countries who are signatories of the Barcelona Declaration (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, and Tunisia).[32]

It promotes the mobility of young people and understanding between peoples through three types of activity: youth exchanges, voluntary service and support measures (job-shadowing, contact-making seminars, study visits, training courses and seminars). The programme focuses on mobility, non-formal education and intercultural dialogue, and phase iv (2010-2013) has a budget of 5 million euros.[33]

It can be said that the Euro-Med Youth Programme fills a funding gap in the southern Mediterranean partner countries that generally have financial constraints and fewer opportunities for support from international donors, particularly in the context of youth exchanges and volunteering activities.[34]

The CoE-EU Youth Partnership

The European Commission – Council of Europe Youth Partnership, commonly referred to as the Youth Partnership is brought about by a series of agreements to co-operate in developing a coherent strategy in the field of youth training, research and policy.
Its main objectives are:

  • 1) to promote social inclusion of young people, especially those with fewer opportunities;
  • 2) to promote human rights, democratic citizenship and youth participation;
  • and 3) to promote intercultural dialogue and youth work in multicultural contexts – supporting peace-building and conflict transformation between young people.[35]

The partnership's Euro-Mediterranean cooperation aims to explore new areas of collaboration in the region. The Council of Europe believes that the promotion of peace, cooperation and human rights within Europe cannot be disconnected from the situation in neighbouring countries, including those in the Mediterranean area.[36]

The primary difference between the EuroMed Youth Programme and the EU-CoE Youth Partnership is that the latter seeks to explore new areas of cooperation beyond what is covered by the EuroMed Youth Programme. One such area includes youth policy, where the partnership has played a pioneering role since 2005. It seeks to ensure quality development and support to youth work in the region – increasing and improving the quality and quantity of intercultural youth projects, as well as fostering cooperation and synergies to enhance its impact to youth related policies and activities.

Another added value of the Partnership is to bring in a pan-European dimension to youth issues, as well as to take into account experiences in Euro-Mediterranean youth work. It is strengthened by working with other institutions and organisations active in the region, such as the SALTO Euro-Med Resource Centre, the Euro-Med Youth Platform, the European Youth Forum, League of Arab States, and the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures.[37]

The SALTO EuroMed Resource Centre

SALTO stands for Support and Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities within the Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission. It is a network of 8 Resource Centres working on European priority areas within the youth field.[38]

The SALTO EuroMed Resource Centre supports the Euro-Mediterranean Youth cooperation by organising international training courses and events, producing educational materials and tools, as well as disseminating good practices in youth work in the region.

The League of Arab States

The League of Arab States and the Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth have been paying particular attention to youth policy co-operation in the broader Euro-Mediterranean context since 2005. This co-operation has brought the main stakeholders of youth policies to a series of meetings. As this process moves forward, challenges and opportunities have been identified, and demands have been made to further institutionalise the co-operation in order to ensure it becomes increasingly relevant to young people in the region.

The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform

Officially launched in 2003, the EuroMed Youth Platform aims to contribute to the implementation of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission. It hopes to achieve this by bringing NGOs from European and Mediterranean regions together through an open platform that promotes networking among organisations where young people can search for project partners, access tools and information, and get together in forums and discussions. The platform is a space that facilitates the creation of networks of youth groups with similar objectives.

The Anna Lindh Foundation

The Anna Lindh Foundation and the Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth have engaged in cooperation activities in the field of youth and intercultural dialogue. This cooperation is rooted in the common commitment to provide opportunities for young people to be part of intercultural dialogue, in the shared need to develop synergies and complementarities between each other's activities in the Euro-Mediterranean context.

The Foundation's youth projects include, among others: Dialogue Café with Alliance of Civilisation; Plural+ with the Alliance of Civilisation; a Cultural leadership programme in collaboration with the British Council; a Bloggers' project; and others currently being defined.

"Mutual understanding cannot be pursued without a strong emphasis on human rights and intercultural learning. It can also not be pursued without the involvement of young people themselves."
- Euromed Youth Policies in Intercultural Dialogue (background paper)

In 2010, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the EU-CoE Youth Partnership jointly organised a common seminar on 'Euromed Youth Policies in Intercultural Dialogue', which enabled both organisations to take stock of what is already being done in this field and it served as a preparatory meeting for the Anna Lindh Forum 2010. This seminar gave insight into youth policies in the region, and the status of cooperation and coordination between the different actors in the Euro-Mediterranean space.

The Peace Bag partnership was represented along with 25 other youth leaders and youth workers from the Anna Lindh Foundation Networks, including policy makers and researchers, who have contributed to the formulation of concrete recommendations for action, and guidelines for future actions of the Anna Lindh Foundation.

Putting all these institutions together, most significant among their achievements is the further development of youth and youth organisations in the construction to the Euro-Mediterranean space – with relevant local and regional cooperation in the field of youth. Initiatives should continue to empower young people in finding successful and sustainable solutions to present day challenges and give them the means to interact, share experiences and learn about our important role in society and the gift of diversity.

Our response to this challenge is the opportunity we have been given to make this publication. In the next chapter (Part 3), we share with you the different initiatives we have as a partnership, the different contexts we face within our own local realities, and the different hopes for the future we have as peace-builders.