A big Salesian representation: Mr. Brian Hogan (Don Bosco Care Ireland), Mrs. Alexandra Constantino (Fundaçao Salesianos Portugal), José Miguel Bautista (Plataformas Sociales Salesianas Spain), Belén Otegui (Federación Pinardi Spain) and Angel Gudiña (DBI) took part in the second Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth, hosted by the European Commission as the main element of its civil dialogue on social and employment issues.
This Convention brings together civil society organisations and policy makers from 35 countries, as well as representatives from the European Union institutions and from other international organizations. This year, the Convention puts the issue of the social inclusion of our youth under the spotlight. Indeed, while the employment and social situation of the European Union has been gradually improving since the end of the crisis, many young Europeans still struggle with social exclusion and poverty.
The convention programme was extremely intense:
- Presentations by Commissioner Thyssen on the EU proposals during 2017: European Pillar of Social Rights and European Solidarity Corps, and Minister Evarist Bartolo from Malta, insisting on the importance of leaving no one behind, one of the main priorities of Maltese EU Presidency.
- Round tables in which several stakeholders, such as European Youth Forum, several Members of European Parliament and European Commission officials, shared the need of more real youth participation in decision making processes and the weaknesses of the current model of EU.
- There were several workshops and interactive sessions, so that the participants in the Convention could exchange ideas and best practices to create more and better opportunities for young people in the European Union.
Several key aspects were highlighted during the convention as main prioritiest to tackle from European Union and Member States, such as youth unemployment, child and youth poverty, intergenerational fairness, and social inclusion challenges of young people – including young people with disabilities.
As European Commission states in the presentation of this Convention “Every voice counts. Make yours heard” and that is what several Salesian realities working with the poorest youth in some European countries did on 24th April. We hope that this meaningful presence will increase the network of Salesian projects at national level and their links with EU institutions and funding programmes.