European Year of Youth: what’s happened so far & what’s in store!

2022 is the European Year of Youth. After the pandemic and in the current challenging global context, it is time to shine a light on the importance of engaging young Europeans in building a better future — one that is greener, more inclusive and more digital.

A group of friends with the EU flag. © European Union, 2020, Photographer Xavier Lejeune.

he European year was created to renew the call for young people to act, to support them and encourage the inclusion of their ideas and visions. It also brings more and better opportunities for them. Half-way through, the year is booming and full of life. Find out what’s happening, how you can get involved and make your voice heard!

1. It’s time to unmute!

The European Year of Youth means that all young people should turn up the volume and really speak up for what they believe in! The new Voices Platform allows you to record your vision of Europe in your own voice.

You can share your opinion in 29 languages and under 9 categories — European Values, Arts & Culture, Digital, Education & Learning abroad, Employment, Green, Health, Wellbeing & Sport, Inclusion and Youth and the World.

2. Join the European Year of Youth online community

📸 Young people participating in a policy dialogue with Executive-Vice President, Frans Timmermans. © European Union, 2022. Photographer: Xavier Lejeune

Join Discord, a virtual environment where you can be part of the European Year of Youth community. Here you can debate topics, share ideas and speak directly to other young people from across Europe.

3. Conference on the Future of Europe

Nicolas Morávek, the youngest participant in the Conference. © European Union, 2022, Photographer: Gabrielle Ferrandi

Young Europeans had an important place in this unique project. They were encouraged to take part and share their ideas on what kind of Europe they want to live in. In fact, one-third of the participants at the conference were young people under the age of 25.

Youth consultations and the European Youth Event held in 2021 in Strasbourg brought thousands of young people from all over the EU to share their ideas for Europe’s future, resulting in the Youth Ideas Report, which details the 20 most endorsed ideas from the youth.

“For me, (being) the youngest panellist at the Conference, the whole experience of going to Strasbourg to make things better was just something amazing. As a member of Panel 3 focused on health, I think young people care about health topics, mainly dental care, healthy food and mental health,” Nicolas Morávek, a panellist and a panel ambassador from the Czech Republic.

4. Over 3,000 activities worldwide

The European Year of Youth is following a bottom-up approach with thousands of activities and events taking place across Europe and beyond. The activities vary from debates to exhibitions and artistic performances, making the year interesting for everyone.

Take, for example, the Festival Les Pétarades and the European Youth Energy Day, both slated for September. Organised with sustainable development in mind, Les Pétarades promotes young and innovative music groups that are yet to be discovered by students and music lovers.

As part of the larger picture of the European Sustainable Energy Week, European Youth Energy Day gives young people a chance to get involved in Europe’s transition to sustainable energy forms.

Want to find more activities? Check out the interactive Activities Map, filter by your country, or get in touch with your National Coordinator.

5. Competitions galore

The European Year of Youth also means exciting competitions for young people. These range from finding a snappy name for the new ‘EU space-based secure connectivity system’ (spot the challenge!) to publishing a video on social media and winning a free trip in Brussels to discuss the future of finance with Commissioner McGuiness. Check out the European Youth Portal to stay up to date on the competitions and opportunities in store for you!

5. Craving more insight? Check out the latest Flash Eurobarometer

As part of the European Year of Youth, we collected the opinions of young people across the continent. The results made it clear that the engagement and participation of young people is growing every year.

To boost this trend, the most important expectation of the European Year is that society and politics listen to the opinions of young people, and include them in the decision-making process as much as possible.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has also reinforced young people’s conviction that preserving peace, reinforcing international security and promoting international cooperation is the very first objective of the EU (37%).

7. Hear what young people think

Vice-President Margaritis Schinas engaging in a policy dialogue with young people.

Many young people have already expressed their views on the future of Europe through the series of TEDx-style Youth Talks and numerous dedicated policy dialogues.

Youth Talks showcase inspiring conversations with young people, for young people, offering 20-minute talks on topics that matter for the younger generation. So far, there have been 3 Youth Talks with many more to come!

The policy dialogues include a meaningful conversation and exchange of views between a European Commissioner and young people on topics of interest to them, such as youth participation, employment, climate change and many more.

On 21 June, Vice-President Margaritis Schinas discussed the European way of life — the model of society we stand for (view the dialogue here).

You can still watch earlier policy dialogues, and stay tuned for the upcoming dialogues, on the European Year of Youth website.

A preview of the speech by Anna Fratsyvir from Ukraine on solidarity.

8. Get to know the opportunities for young people

Want to learn how you can make use of the opportunities the European Union provides for young people? Check out all our programmes and funded opportunities, such as the European Solidarity Corps, Discover EU, Erasmus+ and many more.

Volunteers dancing during an intercultural night held by the European Solidarity Corps.

The European Year of Youth is generating the momentum to bring young people into the spotlight. The second half of the year will continue these efforts, but will also include large events. One event on democracy, with the collaboration of the European Youth Forum, will bring people from across Europe to Brussels for 2 exciting days.

Importantly, we will continue to put youth issues high on the agenda beyond 2022. The initiatives and frameworks for youth engagement set up during the year will live on.

This will be the legacy of the year.

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