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Stand:18.9.2000
January 30th to February 1st, 2006
Berlin Process – The socially integrative for children and youth
European Conference "Integrated Children and Youth Policies in Europe - Needs for Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods" from January 30th to February 1st, 2006

The German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), in cooperation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe and the French Ministry for Youth, Sport and Associative Life, successfully held the European Conference "Integrated Children and Youth Policies in Europe - Needs for Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods" in Strasbourg from January 30th to February 1st, 2006. This marks a continuation of the "Berlin Process – The socially integrative for children and youth" initiative commenced in the year 2004.

As Federal Minister Ursula von der Leyen made clear in her interview on the conference, the goal of this initiative is to collect practical experiences and solution approaches from European local authorities and to initiate a pan-European process of international learning.

More than 280 participants from 32 European nations and 123 local authorities attended the Strasbourg conference, forming five working groups over three days and discussing strategies on the municipal level to improve the future opportunities of children and youths in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The conference was opened by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Fabienne Keller, Mayor of Strasbourg, and Dr. Peter Fricke, Head of Department "Children and Youth" of BMFSFJ, as well as Valéry Genniges, Private Office of the French Minister for Youth, Sport and Associative Life, and Jordi Curell Gotor, European Commission, Head of the Youth Policies Unit of the Directorate Youth, Sport and Relations with the Citizen.

The speakers referred to the common European task in their opening statements: The challenge of offering all young people in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods of European communities good opportunities for their development and thus safeguarding the social coherence of European societies and their ability to survive in the future through integration. The Council of Europe sees great opportunities to this end in an inter-municipal exchange of experience on the European level. The Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe described this as follows: " ...this conference is an opportunity (...), creating a peer-to-peer-network of cities exchanging software for social inclusion."

On behalf of the BMFSFJ, Dr. Fricke made it clear in his opening address that Germany would use its EU Presidency next year to perpetuate the results of the Berlin Process together with the European Commission.

In his conclusions on the conference, Yavuz Mildon, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, referred to the results of the five working groups, in which more than 30 cities presented their practical experience for debate:

  • 1.Young people conquer their social areas - Participation and involvement on the local level
  • 2. Good Governance and integrated approaches – Standards for the cooperation of public services, NGOs and the civil society
  • 3. Intercultural strategies and the promotion of tolerance in communities
  • 4. The contribution of non-formal education for the employment perspectives of disadvantaged young people
  • 5. Towards a new dialogue between Youth Research, Youth Policy & Youth Work

The contributions from the working groups clarified to a significant extent that the European municipalities stand by their responsibility and task of designing and facilitating integration and further developing this in cooperation with specialists, non-governmental organisations and the citizens of the civil society. A precautionary integration approach must be geared towards all disadvantaged children and young people. This includes the selective promotion of language skills, qualified school graduation, work prospects and the possibility of young people incorporating their abilities in society. Employment perspectives are of central importance for all youths.

Children and youths represent the future of Europe . As illustrated by the examples from the European municipalities, integrated approaches and strategies that allow children, youths and their families better future opportunities belong to the specialist standard in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The participants of the conference agreed unanimously that the Berlin Process offers the unique opportunity of conducting an exchange of practical experience on the municipal level that has contributed to a new quality of local action since the year 2004. At the same time, Europe itself becomes evident in the neighbourhoods. The participants wished for the Berlin Process to be continued and agreed to engage in a trans-municipal exchange of experience in the period leading up to a follow-up conference. The head office of the BMFSF is to provide ongoing coverage of this on its website www.eundc.de.

In his closing address, Yavuz Mildon again emphasised the wish and appeal of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe for the Berlin Process to be continued under the alternating lead of European municipalities.

On account of the significance of the conference on the European level, the Council of Europe Award "Young Active Citizens" 2005 was awarded during the conference. Awards were made to five projects that promote cooperation between local and regional authorities and youths.



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Stand:18.9.2000
Stand:18.9.2000