Next year dedicated to young persons, what about young persons with disabilities?

Next year dedicated to young persons, what about young persons with disabilities?

In her State of the Union address to the Parliament on 15 September 2021, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, outlined the idea to make 2022 the ‘European Year of Youth’. The aim would be to highlight and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on young person’s education, employment, social inclusion and mental health. Within a month, the Commission had adopted a formal proposal for a decision. During the December plenary session on 14 December, the European Parliament adopted the decision establishing the Year. The text sets down the objectives, the types of activities the budget allocated to it.

Objectives of the European Year of Youth

The overall objective of the European Year of Youth shall be to boost the efforts of the Union, the Member States and regional and local authorities, together with civil society actors, to empower, honour, support and engage with young people, including those with fewer opportunities, in a post-COVID-19 pandemic perspective with a view to having a long-term positive impact for young persons.

  • Renew the positive perspectives for young persons, with a particular focus on the negative effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on them.
  • Empower and support young persons, including through youth work, especially young persons with fewer opportunities.
  • Support young persons to acquire a better understanding of, and actively promote the various opportunities available to them from, public policies at Union, national, regional and local level in order to support their personal, social, economic and professional development
  • Mainstream youth policy across all relevant Union policy fields in line with the 2019-2027 European Union Youth Strategy.

Which kind of activities will provide the European Year of Youth?

From the foreseen budget, Conferences, debates, volunteering opportunities and other activities on EU and National level. Other activities not financed with this budget can get the label of European Year of Youth. The EU Institutions will collect also ideas from young persons.


The European Parliament and the Council agree that the minimum operational budget for the implementation of the European Year of Youth (2022) shall be set at EUR 8 million. Of that amount, EUR 3 million will come from the annual budget for 2022 of the European Solidarity Corps and EUR 5 million will come from the annual budget for 2022 of the Erasmus + programme. A specific focus will be on: The two Programmes mentioned that will provide the budget for the European Year of Youth, contain provisions for persons with disabilities. We ask the EU Institution to keeps them for the European Year of Youth.

And young persons with disabilities?

In the legal text young persons with disabilities are specifically mentioned two times. First the European Union recognizes that persons with disabilities were strongly affected by COVID-19 and that the European year of Youth should not be discriminatory to certain groups and young persons with disabilities is one of them.

The year promotes the EU priorities, a green green inclusive and digital year where incusion and accessibility should be priority.

It is not mentioned which type of accessibility and in the measures proposed in the text inclusion is not detailed how is this going to be ensured.

What should we do?

Concretely EDF and its youth committee is going to enter in discussion with the concerned parties on European level and we advise our National members to do the same:

  • Ensure that the information about the European Year of Youth is available in accessible formats: accessible pdf, accessible websites etc
  • The promotional materials are accessible: videos with subtitleing, sign language audio-description
  • The social media campaigns contain accessible information: alt text to images for example
  • The events are organised in accessible venues, that sign interpretation and real time captioning are ensured
  • Personal assistance is covered for participants who need it
  • Young persons with disabilities are included in the European and National dialogs with steak holders and civil society

The EDF Youth Committee identified some topics they would like to be discussed with decision makers:

  • Independent Living
  • Inclusive Education and Eu mobility programmes
  • Digital Transformation
  • Employment of young persons with disabilities
  • Inclusive Climate change
  • Access to Culture and leisure

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Loredana Dicsi
Membership, Internal Communication & Youth Officer