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European Youth Forum Council of Members (COMEM) - November 2017

The European Youth Forum hosted 2017 2nd Council of Members (YFJ COMEM) from the 23rd -25th of November in Cascais, Portugal. The COMEM is one of two statutory meetings that take place annually, gathering Non-Governmental Youth Organisations and National Youth Councils from across Europe and beyond. Youth Environment Europe was represented by Niall Barrett, YEE`s External Relations Officer and Board Member.

Cascais is the European Youth Capital for 2018, and the official opening ceremony took place on the first evening of the conference. During this event, delegates explored the potential locations for the Youth Capital 2020, and also witnessed a fantastic choral performance from Cascais`s local Youth Choir. The city of Amiens, France was the lucky winners of the 2020 Youth Capital.

Over 100 member organisations were in attendance for the duration of the conference. Each of these organisations represent young people at either national or international levels and bring expertise and experience from a range of backgrounds, highlighting different issues that affect young people all across Europe.

The wider group was divided into a number of sub-groups during the "Made in MOs Sessions". This was an opportunity for member organisations to run break out session, focusing on a range of different topics. For the first group, Niall attended a session led by the British Youth Council. The focus of this work group was to identify the role of the British Youth Council (BYC) in Europe post Brexit. Attendees contributed to a policy paper currently being drafted by the BYC by highlighting their concerns for the future following the Brexit vote in 2016. For the 2nd "Made in MOs" session, Niall attended a group led by the Youth forums Sustainability Policy Officer. During this session, attendees contributed to the upcoming policy paper from the European Youth Forum, highlighting YFJ`s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

One of the main outcomes of COMEM was the ratification of the Erasmus+ policy paper. Following some debate and amendments voted on during plenary sessions, the YFJ Erasmus+ policy paper was unanimously passed by the COMEM delegates. This paper emphasises the need for a greater quantity and better quality educational and volunteering opportunities in the European Youth Sector. The paper also pledged support to the ErasmusX10 campaign. This campaign advocates for a 10 fold increase in the budgetary allowance for the Erasmus+ programme, in order to create greater cohesion and partnership among young people across the continent of Europe.

The next COMEM will take place in Brussels in April 2018 and will also be attended by a representative of Youth and Environment Europe