Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Department for Education and Skills

  In November 2001, the Commission published the White Paper "A New Impetus for European Youth". It proposed a framework for cooperation in the youth field. On 27 June 2002, the council adopted a resolution approving the framework and calling for the "open method of coordination" to be applied to four priorities known as the common objectives: these were participation, information, voluntary activities and the greater understanding of youth.

  All member states were subsequently required to undertake the compilation of information sharing questionnaires both within Government and the voluntary and community services and report their findings back to the Commission. The information and participation questionnaires findings were submitted back in 2002, with voluntary activities and the greater understanding of youth following in 2003.

  The 8489/03 follow-up to the White Paper "A New Impetus for European Youth" proposed common objectives for the participation and information of young people, and 8490/03 "Analysis of Member States" replies to the Commission questionnaires on youth participation and information.

  The documents were cleared by letter to the then Minister, Margaret Hodge on 16 June 2003 (progress of Scrutiny EUC-10, 2002-03). The sub-committee raised further questions with the Minister and following an exchange of correspondence on 3 November 2003 and 4 December 2003 the sub-committee asked to be kept informed of developments.

  In November 2003 EU Ministers agreed a council resolution requiring the Commission to seek national reports from member states by the end of 2005, assessing their progress against the participation and information objectives.

  Reports on voluntary activities are due later this year and the greater understanding of youth in 2008. The EU objectives are in line with existing and developing UK policies in these areas and the reports reflect considerable activity and progress in recent years, whilst also looking at the challenges that remain to be addressed.

16 February 2006

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