Today my right honourable friend the Minister for Children, Young People and Families (Beverley Hughes) made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Anne Lambert (Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU) attended the Youth Council on behalf of the UK.
Ministers discussed the following issues:
Resolution on implementing common objectives for voluntary activities of young people
Council adopted the resolution, noting the usefulness of volunteering for young people's social inclusion. Italy asked the Commission to propose an EU charter on volunteering. The Commission agreed on the need for new EU instruments, but did not commit to the idea of a charter. The UK has been keen to emphasise the positive impacts of voluntary activities by young people but remains opposed to the idea of a charter. We accept the need for discussions on the need for further instruments but do not want to pre-empt the outcome of these.
Conclusions on a transversal approach to youth policy
Member states agreed to adopt the conclusions without discussion. These conclusions call for a more cross-cutting, mainstreaming approach to youth policy across education and employment in the context of the Lisbon agenda, particularly to help transitions into work. The UK supports this approach and has already adopted it in programmes such as every child matters/youth matters as well as its national reform programme.
Exchange of views on better consideration of youth issues in the implementation of the Lisbon strategy and implementing the European youth pact
The UK did not intervene in council but circulated a paper setting out its position subsequently. This paper reiterated the UK belief that youth policy is best formulated at local level, involving all services and stakeholders, and that the youth pact is best implemented through the national reform programmes (NRPs). The paper welcomed the Commission initiative to monitor youth issues through the NRPs and report on this to the Youth Council to facilitate exchange of good practice under the open method of co-ordination. However, in common with a number of other member states, the UK restated its view that there was no need for any additional youth-specific reporting requirements as existing mechanisms provided all the necessary data.