The European Commission has adopted a programme to support cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries in the field of youth. Youth exchanges, raising awareness, voluntary activities, trainings and networking opportunities will be supported to strengthen skills of young people and capacities of youth organisations in the Eastern Partnership countries. In total, more than 1,400 projects will be financed involving about 21,000 young people and youth workers.
The Eastern Partnership Youth Window, under the EU Youth in Action Programme, will provide funds to promote cooperation opportunities among young people, youth workers and organisations from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. A special attention will be put to support disadvantaged young people living in rural or poor urban areas.
“Young people are crucial for the harmonious development of inclusive societies and for successful future collaboration with our neighbours. For this reason we have approved this programme, to support young people – particularly those with fewer opportunities – and their active participation in society”, said Commissioner for Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle.
The total budget of the programme is €29 million for 2012-2013, out of which €14 million is dedicated for 2012 and €15 million for 2013. Funds available for 2012 will be committed this year, but projects will be implemented in 2013.
The Eastern Partnership Youth Window programme is designed to reflect the national and regional priorities within the Eastern Partnership region in line with the ‘Eastern Partnership Roadmap 2012-13’, which affirms that the policy dialogue in the field of education, youth and culture will continue through the participation in EU programmes, such as Youth in Action.
The EU funding comes from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). This is the main financial and cooperation instrument through which the funding is given to the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and Russia.
The Eastern Partnership, the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, was launched in 2009 to further support the Eastern European countries and bring them closer to the EU through political association and economic integration.