Young people take control of the city of Ghent

Young people from MFR are encouraged by the European Commission to regularly attend the biannual European Youth Conferences for an informal meeting of which that of Belgium is a part. This contributes to continuing the 10th round of European dialogue and to submit the recommendations of young people to the Council of the EU during the ECJ in Hungary at the end of 2024.

March 2024, 25 young people from the MFR network and 5 local and national administrators and 7 team members met in Ghent in the meeting rooms of the youth center to participate in the side event at the European Youth Conference.

This activity contributes to reflections on the global approach to education in the
frame of theEuropean Year of Skills particularly through work on
psycho-social skills. It is also an extension of
the European Year of Youth. The event allowed the group to measure the importance of the voice of rural youth and give them the means to return to their territory with supports to implement their advocacy.

During the informal event, young people discovered the reality of decision-making in Europe. This will bring them closer to Europe because Brussels is home to the headquarters of the various European institutions.

Experiencing an event in a European institutional space reinforces the feeling of belonging and shows that the place and voice of young people can be heard to the extent that they understand the mechanisms. As the European Commission has already invited rural young people from MFR to participate informally in the CEJ, this activity allows the voice of young people to be widely heard and gives them the self-confidence to then act in their territory with even more conviction.

By working simultaneously on the 6 themes resulting from the European Youth Conference in Alicante in Spain from October 2023, we followed the official CEJ program by setting up participatory reflection workshops. This resulted in proposals for concrete actions by young people and for young people, in a spirit of Popular Education and collective intelligence.

UNMFREO administrators and employees met the president of the network EuproVET which works for European recognition of professional training. Young people participated in the launch of the European Youth Conference which brings together 300 delegate participants from all over Europe and then developed proposals which they presented to the 2 delegates Provox, as well as the youth association JAIM and the Belgian socio-cultural actor cirq. The young people continued the work by leading a World Café followed by a meeting with the representative of the French Ministry of Youth.

Recommendations for the MFR network

  • Secure and safe place to listen
  • Youth Council in each MFR
  • Be more in touch with the Boards of Directors
  • Inclusive charter of MFR
  • Talk more about Europe
  • Communicate to be heard
  • Formalize non-formal education times
  • Provide assistance for continuing studies and housing difficulties
  • Define success criteria for secure listening spaces
  • Set up support spaces for listeners (coaching supervision type)
  • Define the roles of each person and train listeners in different types of support
  • Develop structured dialogue spaces
  • Include young people at the union board level

Recommendations for the ECJ

  • Respect the professional and private secrecy of young people
  • Provide financial assistance for housing, transportation and extracurriculars
  • Working for more gender equality
  • Reduce the age of alternation for more equality and freedom of choice
  • Create 1 youth association per region to encourage the emergence of learning projects
  • Lead sharing spaces between peers, formalized and without judgment
  • Create an inclusive welcome charter
  • Create a poster of an ideal world and distribute it widely

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Young people take control of the city of Ghent

Participation in the European Youth Conference resulted in proposals for concrete actions by young people and for young people, in a spirit of Popular Education and collective intelligence.