From Tampere for Europe

The international youth council seminar in Tampere is over for more then an week now and for me it is time to write down a little bit what I experienced. There are some things I mentioned on previous blog posts as well, but this should be the last one.

From here a big thanks to the organisers at nuva ry. It is always difficult to organise such an europe spanning event, involving participants from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Finnland, Lithuania and bring them all togehter to do something. a total of about 40 young people. The participants were between 15-30 years old and work in the local youth local councils or similar democratically elected bodies. Already youth councils have a very strong foothold in several countries or regions in Europe exist umbrella organisations and other bodies.

Of course we didn’t only work, we had a lot of fun as well, the following video, which the finns all love is a testament to that:


We had a very interesting presentation by a lady from CIMO, which is the Finish organisation with distributes the funding for European Youth in Action Programmes. „From Tampere for Europe“ weiterlesen

Panel discussion on european youth participation

Amongst  many other interesting stuff happening at the Tampere Seminar on European youth participation there was a panel on youth in politics. On the panel we had:

Sirpa Pietikäinen, Member of European Parliament (European People’s Party)
Till Burckhardt, Treasurer, Executive Bureau, JEF
Sissi Penttilä, Schengen Youth Assembly representative of Finland
Alina Böling, Youth delegate of Finland, United Nations
and the moderator was Fatim Diarra, Chair of International Affairs
Committee, Allianssi

STE-012_Panel_Discussion_mp3 (90 min, ca 90 mb)

Sometimes the language was difficult to understand, but Fatimas way of leading the discussion was really good. Lots of people had the chance to participate and it also a little bit controversial at times. Especially when Tim Burckhard of Jeff said he was disappointed by youth. Unfortunately we didn’t get a straight answer about continuing the youth in action program after 2013.

Of course the location was really hip: the council chamber of Tampere city council is the most beautiful part of the city hall.

What is a youth council?

What is a youth council and what does correspond to the institutions we in Germany know as youth-city-councils (Jugendgemeinderat)? The definitions what youth councils are differ from country to country.

Tampere with dramatic light

Even in Germany there are several definitions that seem to be equally valid and good:

  • „A youth council is a democrativly elected body compromised of people mostly aged between 13 and 20 years, that works on a regular, continuous basis and exerts influence on local policy“ (concept08 was a meeting of Finish and Baden-Württemberg youth councillors in Summer 2008)
  • “youth councils are representing the interests of youth toward local politics. They are a model of participation and offer young people an entry into politics without getting bound to a party. Ideally these have the right to talk in the city council and the right to make formal proposals in the city council. Ideally they have their own budget for publicity, events and other projects”  (Interessenvertretung der Jugend, von der Website des Dachverbands der Jugendgemeinderäte, abgefragt am 15.2.2011)
  • “through youth councils youth in their municipality are formally represented. (…) they offer the possibility to transport wishes, suggestions or proposals for improvement of youth towards the political system. Through this youth can participate in the community. (…) they offer all youth political means of participation and creating a political will. (…)
    Youth councils are directly, democratically elected by youth and represent different ages and school types. Youth can participate at planning and projects, which concern their interests within a reasonable way. The elected youth gain deeper insight into local politics and learn on how to take responsibility and represent their position in the public (…)” ( Landtag von Baden-Wu?rttemberg Drucksache 14 / 6762 State Government of Baden-Württemberg
    (in response towards questions of the green party group)

Internationally the definiton seems to be very variable. For example nuva ry the finnish umbrella organisation of youth councils defines them as follows: (Senni Raunio, Salo 2011, „Suomen Nuorisovaltuustojen Liitto – Nuva ry. The Union of Youth Councils in Finland“ Vortrag beim Treffen der Delegation des Dachverbands der Jugend- gemeinderäte Baden-Württemberg und des Finnischen Dachverbands der Jugendgemein- dera?te in Salo am 9.4.2011)

  • „The age of the representatives in Youth Councils varies typically from 13 to 20 years
  • The amount of the representatives varies from 7 to 60 members
  • Members are usually selected via election, but also other methods are being used
  • They are trying to make sure that decision-making in municipalities is fair to the young people
  • Being a part of the municipal boards and other groups
  • Taking part to the public discussion and start new discussions by highlighting the problems that young people are facing“ „What is a youth council?“ weiterlesen