Tracing Integration Policies through Structured Dialogue, “TRAIN” in short, is a project realized within the field of the Erasmus+ programme, specifically under the Key Action 3, aimed towards the creation of a link among youngsters, specifically migrants and refugees, and local and international policy-makers.
The involvement of the specific target is needed in order to fulfill the objectives of the project, focused around the need for active participation of these youngsters in the decisional process for policies tackling migration issues.
As of now, both European and National policies developed to face the migration crisis have been unsuccessful, and there is a need for a conjoined effort of the member states in order to find a way to promote an effective policy addressing integration of migrants and refugees.
The main aim of this project is to easen the process of achieving the aforementioned objective by creating a solid and reliable link between youths and policy makers mediated by European institutions and Civil Society Organization. The creation of this bridge is mandatory to reach a full understanding of the issue and advocate for an effective and human policy for asylum, migration and integration.
We plan to achieve these goals by the means of Structured Dialogue, an effective tool that promotes the inclusion of youngsters originating from different background in a bottom up approach to decision-making and politics. This process, which is set in the timeframe of the three European Presidencies, allows us to get a better grasp of the inner mechanism of European law making, while at the same time giving us a chance to give a feedback to representatives of the government itself.
The project will last 18 months, spanning from 01-02-19 to 31-07-20, involving participants belonging to the following categories:
- Youths between 13 and 30 years;
- Youths with fewer opportunities;
- Youngsters belonging to minorities, migrants and refugees;
- Representatives of associations involved in youth issues and migrants;
- Policy-makers and representatives of institutions, without age restictions;
- Political activists;
- Youth workers;
- Journalists and individuals able to influence population’s opinion.
The project will involve 10 partners from 9 different countries, chosen specifically in order to represent past, present and future European Presidencies:
- Associazione TDM 2000 International, Italy;
- Associazione TDM 2000, Italy;
- Asociatia Initiative si Poiecte pentru Tineret Imago Mundi, Romania;
- Step Europe ry, Finland;
- TDM 2000 Eesti, Estonia;
- Law and Internet Foundation, Bulgaria;
- Centre for European Progression, Belgium;
- Be-Education, Equality, Sustainability, Austria;
- Geoclube, Portugal;
- National Youth Council Maltese, Malta.
The activities will gather policy-makers and youth, so that the latter will be involved actively in the decisional process at different levels, starting from local up to the European level.
WHAT IS IT?
Structured Dialogue is a means of mutual communication and discussion between young people and decision-makers in order to implement the priorities of European youth policy cooperation and to make young people’s voice heard in the European policy-shaping process. It is a consultative process, implemented by the European Commission, that aims to increase cooperation with civil society and get firsthand input from young people. It is made up of one main event, the EU Youth Conference, organized by the EU country currently holding the EU presidency.
This way, we can bridge the gap between the two main actors involved and obtain precious feedbacks and participation in the decisional process by those that are most affected by it: youths all over Europe.
Structured Dialogue is organized into 18-month work cycles. Each cycle focuses on a different thematic priority which is set in advance by the Council of Youth Ministers. The current cycle runs from 2019 to 2020 over the course of the Romanian, Finnish and Croatian EU Presidencies.
The thematic priority that was chosen by the current presidency cycle is: “Creating opportunities for Youth”, and has set its roots in these goals:
- Identifying the consultation tools for outreach and meaningful dialogue with all categories of young people and harvesting tools that would allow not only an insight into the results, but also to access inputs on a rolling basis throughout the consultation period;
- Providing a longer period allocated for dialogue activities and consultations that are carried out by the National Working Groups (end of April – end of October 2019);
- Involving researchers that will accompany the trio presidency throughout the EU Youth Dialogue processes;
- Developing a toolkit with methods and approaches for the consultation process in EU Youth Dialogue based on good practices and experiences from the structured dialogue.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
As a tool for participation, Structured Dialogue cannot function properly by itself. This means that to be effective, it requires the direct involvement and, indeed, participation of youngsters and organizations involved in the youth field.
During each 18-month work cycle, a national consultation of young people and youth organizations is conducted in every EU country.
This process of participation is organized and overseen by national working groups in each of the European countries. These groups are made of the following actors:
- Representatives of youth ministries;
- National youth councils;
- Local and regional youth councils;
- Youth organizations;
- Youth workers;
- Young people from all backgrounds;
- Youth researchers.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
At the first EU Youth Conference of each cycle, youth representatives and policymakers agree on a guiding framework for the national consultations organized in each country.
At the second conference, the outcomes of the national consultations are debated and Joint Recommendations, aimed at increasing the participation of youth people in politics, are endorsed.
At the third and final conference of the cycle, the recommendations are debated by Youth Ministers from national governments, before being endorsed.
The final recommendations form the basis of a Council Resolution addressed to European institutions and national authorities, to be endorsed by youth ministers at the end of the 18-month cycle.
Structured Dialogue is governed at EU level through a European Steering Committee which changes during each cycle and that is composed of:
- Youth Ministry representatives of the three EU Presidency countries;
- Representatives of national youth councils of the three EU Presidency countries;
- Representatives of the Erasmus+ National Agencies of the three EU Presidency countries;
- Representatives of the European Commission;
- Representatives of the European Youth Forum.