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The spring Council of Members

The spring Council of Members (COMEM) of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) took place as usual in the business centre of Europe - a splendid and marvelous city Brussels, on April 20-21, 2012.

The European Youth Forum is a platform of 99 youth non-governmental organizations and national youth councils. The purpose of the meeting is stated in Article 2 of its Statutes. It is to organise studies, research, debates, seminars, meetings, publications, information or actions having the defence of Europes youth as a goal. The following topics were discussed amongst the representatives of almost 60 youth organizations who attended the meeting: youth unemployment, "Erasmus for All", OCEAN2012 and many others.

On the first working day all the delegates were invited to the building of the European Social and Economic Committee to have an exchange of views with politicians and youth workers who are dealing with youth unemployment in Europe. There have been numerous questions raised on particular measures that are being taken in the European Union to address constantly increasing numbers of unemployed youth. European Youth Forum, by turn, assured politicians in its readiness to deliver any kind of assistance to jointly combat the situation with unemployment in these hard times.

The only topic that might have drawn greater deal of attention comparatively to the one of youth unemployment was so-called "New Youth in Action" program which is being actively discussed in the European Commission with the involvement of a wide range of interested stakeholders - "Erasmus for All". The main idea of the new initiative, which is primarily focusing on education rather than on youth as such, is to disperse the whole budget that was initially aimed at supporting youth organizations, between youth and education sectors. However it shall be noted that "Erasmus for All" does not foresee an administrative grant as it has been existing so far. The creators supposed that it would be better to invest a bigger amount of money into high-quality projects themselves rather than paying salaries of staff of youth organizations which is usually bearing the burden of successful implementation of projects. I shall point out that the YFJ has been playing a major role in finalizing the eventual program. Representatives of the Forum have been putting all the efforts to secure sound financial situation for its members, but unfortunately those efforts have so far seemed to be not enough. Nonetheless the battle has not yet been lost. Until the program is adopted by the European Commission, we - youth organizations around Europe have a chance to influence it by means of using every single mechanism and instrument at our disposal - from writing petitions to contacting parliamentarians of our corresponding countries - hopefully nothing will be in vain.

The last point of agenda of the second working day was presentation of the OCEAN2012 campaign made by its main coordinator Kelly Agathos. The presentation seemed to be of a great interest to many of the attendees of the meeting who after it finished approached Mrs Agathos with many questions regarding possible ways of their further involvement. This show of interest may be easily explained by the scale of the campaign it has so far gained in Europe and by significant importance of the issue of the European fishery policy, to which the campaign is devoted.

Last but not least I wanted to share with you news on one of the Thematic Squares which is a space for organizations to discuss topics they deem important, our colleagues from International Young Naturefriends made a presentation of activities carried out by youth green organizations, during which I had the opportunity to present some of YEE recent and current activities, and initiated the process of making the European Youth Forum more sustainable and environmental-friendly organization, namely by means of revision its policy on sustainability. Besides that, we agreed to settle solid cooperation between "green" organizations of the Forum in order to be a stronger voice while advocating for environment on the highest political level.

That was a short reflection of what was happening at another biannual meeting of the members of the European Youth Forum in Brussels.

Let remind you that I am looking forward to receiving your questions should you have any

Yours truthfully,

Kyrylo Ivliev