Investing in solutions for refugees/migrants and creating quality jobs for young people

Young people across Europe have been deeply affected by the migration and refugee crisis and have often been the first to act to protect human life. Civil Society Organisations and Youth Organisations in particular have done their best to translate the goodwill of young people into adequate responses to the urgent needs of migrants and refugees at local and national levels. Young people, often working as volunteers, are helping to stem a humanitarian crisis in countries across Europe.

As the Commission launches proposals to deal with the refugee crisis today – we state that a European solution to the migration and refugee crisis focusing on solidarity and European values is urgently needed. Europe cannot and must not return to national borders.

Young people want to continue making their contribution to a European solution to this crisis, believing that such a solution will create more quality employment opportunities for young people, including refugees and migrants themselves.

We call for efforts to focus on the following:

  • Reception of refugees and migrants: To ensure that refugees and migrants are treated in a way that protects their rights, is in accordance with European values and creates jobs in Europe – EU borders should be in Europe and not outsourced to Turkey or other countries.
  • Humanitarian programmes to provide services and decent conditions for and with migrants and refugees. This must include tailor-made support for refugees and migrants.
  • Inclusion programmes to engage refugees and migrants in local communities. Young people and youth organisations are uniquely positioned to carry out this effort, given our open and welcoming attitude to refugees and migrants. Done well, these can create social integration and harmony – one example being citizenship education and peace education programmes that can facilitate exchanges regarding identity. These can also create many quality jobs for European young people, refugees and migrants themselves, including through skills and competences acquired through non-formal education programmes.

Concrete actions of youth organisations: 

  •  Don Bosco Youth-Net volunteers in Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria offer free language courses and sports/leisure activities to young refugees as a first step to the integration in the local community.
  • Scouts are providing tents, medical supplies, basic medical assistance, organising the collection of donations among the local population, preparing food according to the different religious beliefs and organising its distribution on a daily basis

Full statement can be downloaded here.

Signatories: Austrian Youth Council, European Liberal Youth, Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG), Young European Socialists,  Don Bosco Youth-Net, European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Young Democrats for Europe (YDE). Coordinated by European Youth Forum.