Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the Minister of Youth and Sports Krassen Kralev closed the European Youth Conference, which took place over three days on 17-19 April 2018. Minister Kralev presented the European youth goals formulated during the conference, which are the first of their kind and will be used as a direct recommendation to the European Commission with regard to the European Youth Strategy.
The young delegates united around the following 11 priorities:
- Sustainable and green Europe;
- Information and constructive dialogue;
- Equality of all genders;
- Youth organisations and European programmes;
- Connecting EU with youth;
- Quality employment for all;
- Quality learning;
- Moving rural youth forward;
- Mental health and wellbeing;
- Inclusive societies;
- Space and participation for all.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov highlighted that the European Youth Conference unites and gives young people the opportunity not only to put important issues on the agenda, but to get actively involved in the decision-making processes. He emphasised that Bulgaria has plenty of examples of young people under the age of 30 who are part of the legislative or executive structures at local, national and European level.
“This year we managed to integrate another 20 000 children into the classrooms in Bulgaria, most of them from Roma origin. I am happy that the government made education one of its main priorities. We increased teachers’ salaries twice, we support digitalisation, we repaired the school infrastructure and continue our way in this direction”,
Mr Borissov further said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the participation of representatives of the Western Balkans at the event.
“If many qualified young people from the Balkans leave the region, its competitiveness drops. This is why we need to help, to insist, to encourage, to train by any means possible in order to make young people stay on the Balkans”,
The Minister of Youth and Sports Krassen Kralev stated that the European youth goals formulated during the conference prove that together, young people from the EU, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership are fully able to outline the future youth policies in Europe.
“The foundation that we all built here together will help us to continue the systematic policy of both the government and the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the youth sector. And after the end of our Presidency of the Council of the EU, Bulgaria will continue its efforts for the inclusion of the Western Balkan countries through effective partnerships with the UN, UNICEF, UNFPA, the European Commission and the Council of the EU”,
Minister Kralev added.
Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, stated:
“This conference is being held at the right time, as the debate for the future of Europe is at its heights. Young people should be a part of this debate as the future belongs to them. Europe should be strong, should be open, local communities should be strong, and this obliges us to give young people the opportunity to raise their voice, to train them, to give them the required skills to enable them to take life in their own hands, to support others and to gain maximum benefits from the opportunities the knowledge-based world gives them.”
He underlined that the proposed goals will be taken on board during the preparation of the new European Youth Strategy that will be presented in May.
UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake welcomed the Bulgarian Presidency’s focus on including young people.
“We from the UN really have what to learn from you when it comes to consultations with young people. It is not a surprise that young people are the driving force of many important matters, such as peace and security, which are a priority on the EU agenda”,
The Youth Conference was organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports within the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The event was attended by more than 250 young people from 40 countries, including EU member states and partners from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership. Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN youth envoy, Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament (EPP), and Vanya Koleva, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports attended the closing ceremony.