EUROPEAN UNION FEDERATION OF YOUTH HOSTEL ASSOCIATIONS

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1 Recommendations from EUFED for the Youth on the Move Card Background: EUFED, the European Union Federation of Youth Hostel Associations 1, as the voice of 2,75 million European citizens, wants to thank the European Commission to be invited for the EU Youth on the Move Card Consultation held at 10 th December We very much welcome the European Commission s initiative to explore the potential of a Youth on the Move Card (YoMCard) in order to empower young persons to explore an inclusive, accessible, sustainable and inspiring environment for youth mobility. Young people are limited in money, thirsty for experience of different cultures, open to new ideas and pioneers for a European community. A YoMCard as a participatory instrument of the EU Youth on the Move 2 flagship initiative could be a crucial element to fully explore all potentials of European youth mobility in a globalising world. We see an opportunity to create a momentum at EU to improve mobility, the well- being and quality of life for young people so that they can make a living and pursue their own plans. EUFED would be pleased to offer a more than 100 years old expertise as a charity based organisation facilitating youth mobility, particularly linked to high- quality non- formal educational programmes to develop the YoMCard. This paper will complement EUFED s first questionnaire from 9 th December It will point out three particular points: The scope and the target group for the YoMCard and sustainability issues. 1 EUFED as a non- governmental organisation represents the interests, at EU level, of the national Youth Hostel Associations of Europe and the young people who stay at Youth Hostels. EUFED stands for 19 Youth Hostel Associations in 16 European countries, operating Youth Hostels across Europe, serving 2,75 million members and achieving more than 22 million overnight stays within Europe yearly. Today, Youth Hostels as the worldwide biggest member association for young people, offer its worldwide 3.5 million members a choice of over accommodation centres in 90 countries. 2 COM(2010) 477

2 (1) What would you like the Youth on the Move card to do for young people? The YoMCard should be seen not as an end in itself but as a preferred means of exploring and protecting European cultures and nature, strengthening European citizenship and competitiveness, expanding and enriching the experience of young people, enhancing their creativity and curiosity to explore Europe and developing their intercultural understanding through language skills and exposure to other cultures. Mobility and accessibility to relevant information are greatly important resources for all young people to foster the much- needed skills underlined by the Youth on the Move initiative, such as creativity, living diversity, participation, team- work, problem- solving, intercultural dialogue, citizenship and flexibility. Due to the huge lack of information about the whole range of European programmes and initiatives for young people, the connection between EU information and discounts well balanced and widely accessible will be a path to EU youth policy and give a sense of belonging to the European community. Thus, the earlier young persons get into contact with new cultures, the easier it is for them to decide to study, learn or work abroad when they become adult. This leads to: Growth in skills, confidence, self reliance and well being; Engagement and exchange with diverse people and communities; Exploration of wider horizons of culture and location, particularly for young people and thus a higher rate of participation e.g. in the EVS or in the ERASMUS programme. EUFED understands the YoMCard as a great opportunity to build a bridge between young people and the European Union with its broad range of programmes and policies for young people. It should be a link and portal of information, exchange and interactivity. The YoMCard could be a great instrument to combine information of well- defined partners with all tools of the European Union concerning young people (e.g. Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus, Youth in Action, Youthpass, Europass, EVS, Erasmus for young entrepreneurs as well as Eurodesk, EURES, ERYCA, Europe Direct, Council of Europe, Interrail, Youth Hostels etc.) Furthermore, there could be information about the awaited initiative on quality internships and workers rights in the EU.

3 In addition to the information part about EU programmes and initiatives, the YoMCard should cover culture, travel, accommodation, shopping and services and thus integrate best practices from existing card systems. It must be a young brand with a strong and attracting marketing concept. Co- branding needs to be discussed. (a) The Youth on the Move Card as an instrument to foster employability and youth employment? Young people have been among the hardest hit by the financial crisis. However, as Mario Monti showed in his report to Mr Barroso 3 : even in the economic downturn, jobs remain unfilled in the EU. On the other hand, there is a mismatching as Young people are often willing to work abroad, but do not take up job opportunities in other countries because they are not aware of them, because of the costs of moving, the lack of advice and financial support to cover the relocation costs or simply because of lacking information. The Youth on the Move Card would thus respond to the Council of the European Union s Guidelines 4 for the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union to implement the EU 2020 Strategy for jobs and growth, namely developing a skilled workforce responding to labour market needs, promoting job quality and lifelong learning; improving the performance of education and training systems at all levels and increasing participation in tertiary education; promoting social inclusion and combating poverty 5 At the same time, Mario Montis proposal No 34: The Commission will develop, in cooperation with the Member States, a Youth on the Move card helping all young people to move to another Member State to study 6, would cover only one facet of the Youth on the Move Card. We certainly welcome the evaluation currently undertaken by the Commission of creating European student mobility loans to give more young Europeans, in particular the most disadvantaged among them, the opportunity to experience a period of study, training or job placement in another country. 3 A new strategy for the single market, report by M. Monti, 9 May 2010, p Council of the European Union, 11646/10, 7 July Council of the European Union, 12082/10, 13 July COM(2010) 608 final

4 However, it is by far not enough to emphasise only the employability of young people. To fully achieve their potential, young people need a more concrete investment that goes beyond their integration to the labour market. To grow a strong, smart, inclusive and sustainable European society also needs a strong participation of young people. This is crucial to build a democratic Europe as it is recognised at the highest level in art. 165 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Here again, we would like to see concrete proposals how the YoMCard could help to put this into practice. Our key message: Enjoying a wide range of mobility experiences is hugely beneficial for young people s wellbeing and achievement. Therefore, the Youth on the Move Card can make a difference. It should focus on empowering young people to explore Europe. It should give opportunities to discover new places and people and learn new skills by formal and non- formal education. (b) Leading by example: Sustainability as a prerequisite for the Youth on the Move Card The European Union, committed to sustainable development, should carefully take into account the great opportunities of a Youth on the Move Card to encourage all actors included to make a strong contribution to sustainable development as a prerequisite to take part in the scheme. With the Europe A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth 7 European leaders assert that Europe will get back on track, by focusing on employment, research and innovation, climate change and energy, education and combating poverty. Thus, Sustainable Development in its economic, ecologic and social dimension is the crucial element to meet the future challenges of our societies. If the European Union wants to gain confidence and understanding of it s future leaders it is these principles that need to be reflected by the Youth on the Move Card. This is particularly important as, compared to everyday consumption products, the mobility sector can cause disproportionately high carbon footprints: The global tourism industry is a significant contributor to climate change, being responsible for 5 % 12,5 % of man- made global warming 8 9. The UNWTO- UNEP- WMO (2008) warns that if no comprehensive emission reduction measures are undertaken, that the sector s emissions will grow 2.5- fold by the year COM(2010) Scott, D., Peeters, P., Gössling, S. (2009). Can Tourism Seal the Deal of its Mitigation Commitments?: The Challenge of Achieving Aspirational Emission Reduction Targets. Background study for the symposium Tourism & Travel in the Green Economy,14th to 15th September, 2009, Gothenburg. 9 These figures include international and domestic tourism flows as well as one day trips. The gap is due to scientific uncertainties regarding the climate effect of aviation related cirrus clouds. The maximum figure is based on model calculations of 2007 (cf. 1), updated with new data from the year 2009 (cf. 6). 10 UNWTO- UNEP- WMO (2008). Climate Change and Tourism Responding to Global Challenges. Available online at

5 Our key message: For EUFED, the YoMCard should fully complain with sustainability standards. It should give young Europeans the possibility of exploring and experiencing the diversity of Europe in a sustainable way. This sustainability component will be a strong branding argument with a clear European added value. This would also be in line with the first proposals of the EU tourism strategy 11. (2) For whom could the Youth on the Move card be designed? The YoMCard should be a card for ALL young people up to 30 years without limitations (integrating local, regional and national and transnational levels). Thus it should not be limited to learners unless learners are seen as every person in the broadest sense. For EUFED, every person is a learner each and every day. Thus, the Youth on the Move Card to be a real European flagship initiative needs to be open for all young people interested in exploring Europe. It should encourage them to participate and initiate their own projects due to comprehensive information and benefits. This puts importance to non- formal education contexts. It must be a young brand with a strong and attracting marketing concept and transparent criteria to join the card as sponsor or partner. It should be discussed if a physical card is the adequate means. A card needs to be accessible for all young people, especially for those without access to Internet or smart phones. If it is free of charge, it could be linked to national passports of every pupil from 13 years on. Carefully taking privacy issues into account, fingerprints could be an alternative to a physical card. The information provided by the YoMCard should be available in all official EU languages. Our key message: If the European Union is serious about its future wealth and cohesion, it needs to ensure higher and better investment for youth at all levels. Therefore, EUFED is of the opinion that a Youth on the Move Card needs to be free of charge for each and every young person, especially as the EU information is generally free. 11 COM(2010) 352 Final

6 (3) Do/did you have a Youth or Student card? Yes No (a) Why Yes / Why Not? At the time when I needed such a card, it was very difficult to get adequate information and it was only valid in limited countries. (4) Would you be interested in having a Youth on the Move card offering you pan- European benefits? Yes No The first travel experiences of a young person will remain unforgettable for the whole life. If this mechanism will be easily accessible and provides adequate information, it will help to obtain the aim of the Youth on the Move flagship initiative. Youth Hostels as partners for the Youth on the Move Card If the Youth on the Move Card will include accommodation, the European Youth Hostel network as charity- based accommodation should be the main partner. Youth Hostels offer a springboard to help all, no matter their culture or provenance or religion to meet, learn and experience together. And so to learn and develop themselves. They broaden their horizons, offering new experiences to develop new skills and European Citizenship while discovering Europe and getting to know other communities and people. We especially welcome all persons with handicaps. Youth Hostel Associations across Europe are hosting thousands of young people every year, who are working together on Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection, Diversity, social inclusion Intercultural Dialogue, Human Rights, Drug Prevention, Job Orientation, Family Holidays etc.. These are the ingredients for a European civil and mobile society as it is proposed by the EU 2020 strategy. IDEAS: Competition on sustainable travel (carbon footprint calculator) A system to trace back all movements, e.g. collecting points (cross- boarder movements, accommodation, participation in trainings and workshops)

7 CONCLUSION We hope very much that the European Union will develop an attractive and inspiring Youth on the Move Card mechanism to show the positive impact for the young European society and to ensure that the future decision makers can develop ALL skills needed to change future challenges into windows of opportunities. EUFED will play its role in championing pro- active proposals and mobilising civil society engagement in the forthcoming debate and would welcome your concrete proposals for how stakeholders will be involved at each stage. EUFED would be very interested in being part of a working group proposed during the consultation at 10 th December Brussels, 11 th January 2011 Contact: Constanze Adolf Operating Director EUFED European Union Federation of Youth Hostel Associations B Brussels Operating Director t: f:

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