Europe’s Youth Envisioning a Democratic Environmental Decision-Making Process for All

EU has a choice to make. It must reinforce the European Green Deal and invest […]

Other Publication

27/04/2020

EU has a choice to make. It must reinforce the European Green Deal and invest in the green transition to prepare all generations for a green economy. We need to democratise environmental decision making, creating spaces for young people to participate and for intergenerational exchanges.

Protect the European Green Deal

The world has been stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the uncertainty, decision-makers already have an eye on the restart. After all our effort pushing for a strong European Green Deal, we now find ourselves at a crossroads. Here, the EU has a decision to make. Either, they can be tempted into times of old and continue to fund polluting sectors, locking us into continual fossil fuel dependency. Alternatively, the EU can reinforce its environmental and climate ambition. We cannot afford for the Green Deal to be compromised.

The European Green Deal’s policies should not be delayed, but reinforced for a green recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any financial recovery packages must be compatible with the European Green Deal’s objectives. We cannot afford to delay the green transition any further. It is an inevitability and our continued inaction only serves to raise the cost of future action. Our attention must instead be turned to preparing society for the post-transition economy.

If the EU invests in the green transition, up to 60 million new jobs in the green economy could be created by 2030. The EU and its Member States should invest in skills that will facilitate the transition to a sustainable society and economy. We need more vocational training for young people to allow them to participate in this reshaped economy. However, attention needs to also be given to those currently employed. Every generation will need to be supported in the transition to a green economy. The Green Deal should further strengthen opportunities for intergenerational solidarity. In particular, the EU needs to invest in the upskilling and reskilling of workers employed in fields that will not be required any longer after the transition. If the EU does not reinforce its climate ambition, one crisis will replace another.

Moving Towards Democratic Environmental Decision-Making

Young people have been striking for well over a year now, often alongside other generations. These strike movements have created a new space for young people to have their voices heard in environmental decision making. Yet, our message is not changing because we are not being listened to.

It is now important to build on our work in the streets and ensure that youth involvement is formalised. Decisions made now, particularly regarding the Green Deal and recovery plans, will have long-lasting implications for future generations. These decisions must reflect the interests and views of younger citizens. Young people deserve to have a say in their future and to work with other generations to create a solution that works for all. Building on the case of youth councils and citizens’ assemblies we would propose a mechanism for structured youth participation in European decision-making processes. This would take the form of a structured Youth Climate Dialogue.

The Youth Climate Dialogue would involve regular meetings with the Commission, the Council and other decision-makers. It would create a space for young people to directly voice their concerns and demands to the European institutions. Additionally, regular meetings allow for follow-ups and an opportunity to question what has been done with previous youth inputs. Too often there is a lack of clarity over what is done with the demands of young people. We are tired of just being ‘spoken to’ and our demands being disregarded in blatant ‘youth washing’. The EU needs to commit to its desire to involve the views of young people by creating structured channels of communication where young people are listened to as active discussants.

The Conference on the Future of Europe also presents another opportunity. Diversity is our strength and expansive intergenerational exchanges should be at the forefront. To understand the needs of the various age groups, the Conference should bring together representatives of different age groups, providing a platform for intergenerational interactions and exchanges on topics related to climate and environmental issues.

There is hope to be had. The European Green Deal is a step in the right direction and it must be protected at all costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated our ability as a society to band together. We have demonstrated intergenerational solidarity in the face of a crisis. Now we must take this mentality forward and use it in our fight against the climate crisis.

Generation Climate Europe (GCE) is the largest coalition of youth-led NGOs at the European level, pushing for stronger action from the EU on climate and environmental issues. We bring together 8 of the largest European youth organisations, representing over 460 national organisations in all Member States and over 20 millions young Europeans. Our goals are two-fold. First, to create a united voice to better advocate for the position of youth in European decision-making processes on climate and environmental issues. Secondly, to empower young people to become effective climate advocates.

Read the article by Generation Climate Europe in PDF

Find all related publications
Publications
20/06/2022

Talking Green in Europe

Lessons on re-framing the public debate on the climate crisis
13/06/2022

Just Transition & Revitalisation – A New EU Strategy for Rural Areas

How can EU actions support the revitalisation of rural areas? How can EU institutions put […]
25/05/2022

Voting during pandemics: making democracy resilient in turbulent times

Although many volumes have already discussed several COVID-related socio-economic phenomena, relatively less attention has been […]
11/05/2022

Builders of Progress: The war in Ukraine through the eyes of youth

This is the first publication of the research project Builders for Progress
Find all related events
Events
Past
03 - 04/06/2022
Stockholm (Sweden)

Just Transition: The path to a healthy planet for the prosperity of all

Stockholm (Sweden), 3 June 2022 Urgent action is needed to prevent the breakdown of our climate and […]
24/05/2022

Research presentation: “Voting during pandemics: making democracy resilient in turbulent times”

24 May 2022, 14:00 – 15:30 CET Voting during pandemics: making democracy resilient in turbulent […]
12/05/2022

Policy Measures for a Just Transition

12 May 2022 Ideas for Designing a Structural Transformation to Reduce Inequalities Policy discussions in […]
Find all related news
News
12/05/2022

New report shows young Europeans fear war spreading across Europe and call on EU countries to spend more on defence

Brussels, 12 May 2022 – As war continues to rage in Ukraine, a new survey has found that nearly […]
16/04/2022

Solidarity between generations strengthens democracy

It is time to empower Europe’s younger and older generations to fully participate in democracy […]
28/09/2021

FEPS joins the European Alliance for a Just Transition

We are delighted to announce that FEPS joins the European Alliance for a Just Transition […]
28/04/2020

FEPS article series on intergenerational solidarity and the need for climate justice

This article series aims to inform on the ways in which intergenerational solidarity can be […]
Find all related in the media
In the media

Leaders Must Choose a Just Energy Transition and a Social Europe

by Euractiv 30/05/2022

The circular economy and green jobs

by ENCOMPASS 25/05/2022

Da Prodi a Rodrigues, domani al via la ’Terza conferenza sul futuro dell’Europa’

by La Nazione 25/05/2022

Omnibus Dibattito

by La 7 19/05/2022