YES Forum



Through our advocacy work we seek to influence policies and perceptions in order to create better life opportunities for young people. We contribute to the development of policies on youth and social affairs by transferring knowledge gained through practical experience and by giving the young people a voice which European decision-makers hear and pay attention to.

Thus we support a greater and more effective cooperation between different stakeholders such as public authorities and policymakers to implement the needed policies and reforms in the field of youth affairs.

Our advocacy priorities focus on vulnerable young people from five perspectives:

  • Social inclusion, education and employment
  • Participation and active citizenship
  • Migration and diversity
  • More and better mobility opportunities
  • Youth work and non-formal learning

We respond to European policy developments and inform decision-makers about our key concerns. Our members’ extensive field experience provides us with valuable knowledge and insight for pertinent policy recommendations.

Our latest recommendations and policy contributions:

Position Paper | Inclusive Youth and Education Programmes (2020)

For the civil society organisations subscribing to this position paper, inclusion is an essential part of their daily work - be it as a welfare or youth association, Church or social and educational institution. We are committed to truly inclusive education programmes at the European level.

This includes a comprehensive, diversity-friendly inclusion strategy for all European funding programmes that addresses multiple discrimination.

Policy Brief | PROMISE - Promoting Youth Involvement and Social Engagement (2018)

PROMISE explored the ways young people with a history of stigmatisation or conflict participate in society. The focus was on the different ways they engage with social, environmental and political issues, and how they create opportunities for social change.

The following recommendations on Promoting Youth Involvement and Social Engagement in Europe are based on ethnographic case studies with young people and quantitative research using the European Value Survey and other secondary data sources.

Position Paper | Erasmus 2021-2027 - YES Forum's Feedback (2018)

In the context of the negotiation of the EU budget for the period 2021-2027,the European Union has started preparing the successor of the Erasmus+ Programme.

To contribute to this process, the YES Forum prepared this position paper based on the network’s experience, needs and concerns. It provides targeted recommendations on how to strengthen the Erasmus programme within the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027), with a specific focus on how to make it more inclusive and accessible.

Our Life, Our Voice - "Ending Poverty and Social exclusion" - Young People’s Key Messages (2017)

These recommendations on how to tackle youth poverty at the EU-level stem from the "Our Life, Our Voice. Young People and Poverty" young participants’ work.

They are not exhaustive, but reflect the focus chosen by the young people while aligning as much as possible with their own words. They are a synthesis of the project’s 2nd Intellectual Output.

Position Paper | European Solidarity Corps - Feedback from the field (2017)

Based on the feedback and experiences of our member organisations, all youth and social NGOs working with and for young people with fewer opportunities at the local, regional, national and European levels, the YES Forum prepared this position paper to complement its reply to the Public consultation on the European Solidarity Corp in early 2017.

Position Paper | Erasmus+ and Youth work – “Relationship status: It’s complicated” (2016)

… or how to make Erasmus+ Youth work’s Prince Charming again

Together, Erasmus+ and youth work have achieved incredible changes in young Europeans’ lives. But they haven’t yet achieved unconditional love: their relationship still involves too much drama.

It is however crucial to reconcile Erasmus+ Youth and the youth field, so that they can better combine forces and achieve greater societal change together, especially for youngsters with fewer opportunities. A much needed change, considering the current social and political context.

To pave the way for such a perfect love story, YES Forum members gathered the following policy recommendations, based on their long field experience in international youth work.

YES Forum’s position on Erasmus+ Ka3, Civil Society Cooperation in the field of youth (2015)

The Civil Society Grant is an essential instrument for European networks active in the youth field to make long-term plans and dare initiating innovative projects in youth and social work. The changes made to the funding conditions of the Grant are worrying as they increase the insecurity of European networks working in the field. Thus, the YES Forum released a Position Paper aimed at decision-makers and stakeholders within the European youth field.

Policy Recommendations on volunteering (2014)

Drawing upon the knowledge exchange within the Volunteering as a pathway to employment (VAPE) project, the following policy recommendations in the area of European volunteering have been developed.

YES Forum Position on the uncertain future of organisations working in the youth field (2013)

The YES Forum board adopted the position statement on the importance of organisations working in the youth field. Through it, it expresses deep concerns regarding the financial situation of organisations working with young vulnerable people, against the backdrop of budget cuts at national and regional levels in all EU member states. We urge the European governments to invest in young people and to acknowledge the vital role youth work plays in our societies.

YES Forum Position on Erasmus for All (2011)

The new "Erasmus for All" Programme proposed by the European Commission have good aspects, such as the proposed budget increase for the Programme. However, many elements leave room for improvements. The YES Forum targets these elements, and suggests solutions in order to help the Programme to be the closest to disadvantaged youth.

YES Forum Declaration on Volunteering (2011)

Voluntary activities make an impact on society as a whole by contributing to the well-being of individuals and the development of communities and local nnetworks. Based on the rich experience in youth and social work the YES Forum calls upon the European and national stakeholders to support:

  • legislation, that makes it easy for young people to volunteer
  • structures and an enabling environment for volunteering for young people

YES Forum Declaration Combating Youth Poverty (2010)

The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion is closely related to the EU 2020 Strategy targets, in particular to the objective to reduce number of people at risk of poverty by the year 2020. It is the responsibility of all and particularly of the EU Member States to reach these goals.

YES Forum Contribution to the Public Debate Youth on the Move Initiative (2010)

The YES Forum welcomes the Commission's attempts to improve the conditions for transnational mobility of the young people. Especially the disadvantaged young people benefit very much from it. Thanks to various forms of transnational mobility, often for the first time in their lives, they receive a chance to go abroad. Transnational mobility contributes to the acquisition of the language skills, which are getting more and more important for the future professional life in the globalised world and which are often a neglected subject in school education of this target group.

YES Forum Contribution to the Commission's Green Paper "Promoting the learning mobility of young people" (2009)

The YES Forum welcomes the Commission’s initiative to launch a discussion on learning mobility and its attempts to improve the conditions for transnational mobility of the young people. In particular, the broad scope of the Green Paper is seen as positive: it examines the situation of the young people in different learning contexts - in school and university education, in voluntary service or vocational training. Furthermore we welcome the Commission’s approach giving the same value to the experience and skills acquired in both, formal and non-formal context.

YES Forum Position on the Future European Cooperation on Youth Policy (2009)

The European Commission launched a public consultation on how EU youth policy should develop in the coming years. The YES Forum promoted also the recently launched online consultation amongst its members and partners. As a result of discussions and debates among our members, the YES Forum developed a comprehensive position, which reflects views and experience of our various organisations working directly with and for young people. The YES Forum board presented this position in a meeting with Mr Lejeune, head of the unit youth in action, and Ms Le Clair, policy officer of the unit youth policy, DG EAC.

YES Forum position paper (2007)

This document is the YES Forum response on the Commission’s Communication on promoting young people's full participation in education, employment and society [COM(2007)498]. The YES Forum strongly welcomes the Communication and put forward recommendations referring the involvement of young people with fewer opportunities.

Be part of it - A strategy for young people's participation (2006)

This document elaborates the vision of our YES Forum member, The Children's Society (TCS), on the participation of young people. TCS works with - and for - children and young people, and this strategy sets out, how they want to incorporate the principles of participation into the day to day work of The Children's Society.

Communiqué: Violences Urbaines (2005)

This document is a position paper by the French YES Forum member CNLAPS, which is active in street work. It outlines a critical view on the 2005 civil unrest in France, where riots took place, triggered by the deaths of two teenagers in Clichy-sous-Bois, a poor municipality in an eastern banlieue (suburb) of Paris. 

The document is available in German and French.

YES Forum Position on Youth Pact (2005)

The YES Forum strongly welcomes the Youth Pact Including and its importance for education, training and social inclusion of young people in Europe. The YES Forum hopes that the initiative not only remains a rhetorical exercise but concrete action of the Member States will follow. 

„Bridges for Recognition“ (2005)

The article looks at the recent debate on recognition of non-formal learning and it gives an overview about policy developments at EU level.

Inclusion of disadvantaged young people in the EVS (2003)

The document is a position paper of the YES member BAG EJSA, which appeals for changes to the European Commission's Youth programme and its action European Youth Service. The paper states that voluntary services involving disadvantaged young people definitely require more human resources and consequently more support. It stresses the necessity to implement a specific framework for inclusion of all young people.