On Monday 22nd February, the European Economic and Social Committee held their second public hearing on the green paper on ‘The future of the EU’s relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the successor to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.‘
ACP YPN commends the consistent reference to youth throughout the public hearing by the majority of speakers. Moreover, since submitting the official ACP YPN Opinion on Future EU-ACP relations, we are pleased to see more dialogue and exchanges taking up the issue of youth issues that have long been ignored in the EU-ACP partnership, despite the existence of Article 26 CPA on ‘youth issues’.
Professor Mirjam van Reisen, Founding Director, Europe External Programme for Africa, Europe External Policy Advisors emphasised the need to dynamise the collaboration between cities and regions and different actors – NSAs, trade unions, CSOs, including youth groups – through direct people to people contact and twinning in future partnership.
Kristin De Peyron, head of the Pan-African Affairs Division, European External Action Service highlighted the potential impact of the demographic explosion, especially in Africa and ask how can we best deliver to meet aspirations of youth? De Peyron stated that in our analysis on future EU-ACP relations, we need to project into the future and think carefully about including large young populations who will need jobs.
Dr. Natallie Corrie-Kordas, Political Affairs Department Expert – Humanitarian Matters & Civil Society, ACP Secretariat underscored the need to curb youth unemployment both in the EU and ACP countries. Furthermore, Dr. Corrie-Kordas called for youth to be part of consultative processes, as part of a broader symbiotic relationship between the EU and ACP. Dr. Corrie-Kordas also condemned the current inaction that allows the Mediterranean to become the grave of African youth.
ACP YPN team