Youth policy

Lithuanian youth policy is targeted at young people (aged 14–29) who presently amount to more than 630,000 (21 per cent) of the country's population. Legislation provides for the opportunity for young people to take part in relevant decision making and its’ implementation at both local and national level. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour is a coordinating authority with regard to the implementation of youth policy in Lithuania.

A legal and institutional framework for the formulation and implementation of youth policy has been established and developed for more than 10 years in Lithuania. Youth policy principles, spheres, organisation and management have been laid down. With a view to creating adequate conditions for young people to actively participate in an open and democratic society, programmes have been implemented, aimed at promoting participation and involvement of non-governmental youth organisations in the formulation of youth policy.  Furthermore, the relations of NGOs and state and municipal institutions have been strengthened; support from the EU Structural Funds and financing under programmes have been provided.

The new long-term Youth Policy Strategy, which has been drafted in 2010, lays down the priority activities meeting the needs of young people, which enables to create and develop better opportunities for young people in Lithuania.
 
Key principles and areas of youth policy implementation
 
Youth policy comprises the activities targeted at finding solutions to youth problems and seeking to create favourable conditions for personality development of young people and their integration in society.
 
The framework of the current youth policy has been established in the Law on Youth Policy Framework, adopted in 2003. It provides for the main concepts of youth policy, defines youth policy areas and establishes principles of the implementation of youth policy.

The main principles of the implementation of youth policy in Lithuania are as follows:
• Parity and subsidiarity – state and municipal institutions and agencies as well as youth organisations are represented equally, and the decisions are made at a level at which they are most effective;
• Participation and informing – state and municipal institutions and agencies as well as youth organisations inform young people on the matters relevant to them in an acceptable and accessible form, and youth-related issues are solved with the participation of young people;
• Self-governance, independence and voluntariness – young people themselves choose a field of activities, set its purposes, take an active part in it and are responsible for the fulfilment of the said purposes, set down ways, forms, responsibility and evaluation of the implementation of the purposes of this activity;
• Inter-institutional coordination, communication and cooperation – state and municipal institutions and agencies communicate and cooperate with each other solving youth-related issues,  while Lithuanian youth organisations communicate and cooperate with other Lithuanian and foreign youth organisations, natural and legal persons.
 
Institutions and organisations which formulate and implement youth policy
 
A particularly important aspect related to youth policy is the institutional framework established in laws and other legal acts. The system of institutions which organise and manage youth policy in Lithuania functions at both national and local levels.
 
At the national level, the main institutions operate in both the legislative and the executive levels. The key functions of the Commission for Youth and Sport Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania are to promote youth rights and the formulation of the national youth policy, as well as to exercise parliamentary control of institutions and agencies which implement youth policy. The Government has assigned the task of coordination of youth policy to one of the ministries, i.e. the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. Implementing youth-related objectives assigned to it, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour: performs control and supervision of the implementation of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Youth Policy Framework; organises and coordinates the implementation of priority youth policy measures established by the European Commission in Lithuania; formulates, coordinates and implements youth policy in Lithuania. The Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour implements the established national youth policy measures which encourage young people’s motivation to engage in active public life and take part in addressing youth problems. The key objectives of the department include: coordinating the activities of state institutions and agencies with regard to youth policy; developing and implementing national youth policy programmes and instruments; and analysing the situation of youth, youth organisations and organisations working with youth in Lithuania.

Young people can realise their opportunities through taking part in the activities of public organisations. By participating in youth organisations, a young person becomes communicative, more self-confident, and able to plan and implement plans, evaluate its efficiency and quality, cooperate with other persons and organisations, coordinate different interests. Youth organisations, through regional associations of youth organisations, and national youth organisations, through the Lithuanian Youth Council, represent youth interests and participate in the process of formulating youth policy.
 
With a view to ensuring involvement and representation of non-governmental youth organisations in the formulation and implementation of youth policy, the Council for Youth Affairs is formed from representatives of state institutions and the Lithuanian Youth Council in compliance with the principle of equal partnership. The council considers the main issues of youth policy and submits proposals on the implementation of youth policy meeting the needs of youth and youth organisations. A municipal council for youth affairs may be set up according to the principle of parity from the representatives of municipal institutions and youth organisations. It is an advisory institution with a long-term purpose of ensuring youth participation in addressing youth-related issues at the local level. Politicians, municipal administrative staff and representatives from youth organisations cooperate in the council.
 
A municipal coordinator for youth affairs assists municipal institutions in the formulation and implementation of a municipal youth policy. The coordinator creates and maintains a cooperation network between municipality politicians, servants, youth and organisations working with youth, seeking to involve young people in relevant decision-making, as well as plans and implements municipal programmes and measures targeted at youth. The National Association of Youth Affairs Coordinators unites coordinators for youth affairs from almost all existing 60 municipalities in Lithuania.

Implemented Youth Policy Programmes
 
The main youth-related programmes in Lithuania are orientated to the development and promotion of youth entrepreneurship, development of youth organisations, promotion of youth involvement in organised activities and their active participation, and training of specialists working with youth.
 
Financial support has been allocated to the programmes and projects of youth organisations and organisations working with youth. Youth initiative projects aimed at improving the quality of activities of youth organisations, developing and promoting youth entrepreneurship, as well as developing the activities of open youth centres have been funded.
 
Implementing the Programme of Youth Policy Development in Municipalities youth policy has been developed in municipalities, participation of young people, in particular those with fewer opportunities, in youth activities and policy has been encouraged, and cooperation has been strengthened among youth organisations and municipal institutions, rural and urban communities.
 
The National Programme of Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship creates the conditions to design and implement new and to improve existing measures for promoting youth entrepreneurship in Lithuania, thus increasing the number of enterprising youth and youth business entities, creating new methodologies for developing entrepreneurship, and providing services, which meet the needs of young people for the establishment and development of business.
 
Youth policy priority activities
 
Youth is one of the focus issues in the Programme of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. The programme establishes an objective to formulate youth policy which complies with the youth world outlook and their needs and meets the interests of the state and society. It provides for the following:
 
- Solving the issues of youth employment and integration in the labour market, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, reorganising the existing and establishing new youth employment centres;
- Developing youth non-formal education and reinforcing the links between formal and non-formal education;
- Developing education, counselling and guidance services meeting the needs of the variety of youth groups;
- Ensuring the continuity of the pursued youth policy seeking to more effectively implement youth-related programmes, optimising the institutional framework and improving state support for youth organisations;
- Promoting youth cultural and artistic initiatives;
- Monitoring of measures implementing youth needs and referring to its results formulating youth policy, evaluating its outcomes.

Lithuanian Youth Policy Strategy
 
One of the principal measures implementing the Programme of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania is to develop a long-term youth policy strategy, which specifies the goals, objectives, instruments and outcomes of youth policy. Drafting the strategy the analysis of youth situation has revealed the following key directions, relevant to the development of youth policy:
 
  • To promote youth participation and increase youth employment. To promote a diversity of youth attractive activities and the development of open employment and complex measures with regard to disorganised and socially excluded young people. To support the activities of youth NGOs and NGOs working with youth, which involve the largest possible number of young people in positive activities.
  • To develop integrated youth policy at all levels. To promote exchange of information, cooperation between institutions and organisations, which organise and pursue youth-oriented activities. To ensure systematised monitoring of the youth situation.
  • To create favourable conditions for the quality and development of activities of youth organisations and organisations working with youth. To continue the implementation of youth programmes and finance long-term programmes, which strengthen the youth non-governmental sector, and projects, which promote the development of social skills of young people; to encourage the development of regional non-governmental youth organisations.
This important youth policy instrument lays down the programmes and measures directly targeted at the development of youth policy, seeking to create the conditions for a young person to become an active and motivated citizen, capable of creating valuable life.
 
The new National Youth Policy Strategy (National Youth Policy Development programme for 2011-2019) is orientated to the creation of favourable conditions, which meet youth needs, for an active young citizen.
 
The strategy lays down youth policy priorities, goals, activity directions, and the objectives of the state and society.
 
Goals:
- To ensure the development of social security, education and health care systems, which meet the needs of young people. In implementation of this goal better youth employment opportunities will be ensured by creating favourable conditions for young people to participate in the labour market; economic and social entrepreneurship will be promoted; better conditions for the acquisition of housing by young people will be created; youth wellness and physical activity will be encouraged.
- To develop a conscious, public-spirited, patriotic, mature, cultural and creative young personality, capable of being an active part of diverse society. In implementation of this goal non-formal education will be developed seeking integration of formal and non-formal education; youth creativity and active participation of young people in society will be encouraged.
- To develop and coordinate the system of youth work and to ensure the development of youth employment infrastructure. Seeking to work with young people in a qualified and professional manner, the system of training specialists working with youth will be prepared and developed, the existing youth employment friendly environment will be developed and the new one will be created, thus providing more opportunities to socially excluded young people.
- To create favourable conditions for consistent and high quality activities of youth organisations and organisations working with youth, seeking more active youth involvement in organised activities. In implementation of this goal adequate support for youth organisations and organisations working with youth will be ensured, thus improving their organisational capacities and encouraging young people to participate more actively in the life of local communities and voluntary activities.
- To ensure inter-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation in developing coherent, fact and knowledge-based youth policy. Inter-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation will be developed at the local, national and international level; consistent monitoring of the youth situation will be ensured and will serve as a basis for the formulation of youth policy; the youth information and counselling system will be created.
 

Priorities of Lithuanian Presidency in the youth field

The main priority during Lithuanian Presidency of EU Council in youth sector was youth who are not in employment, education or training. Following work started by Ireland, during our presidency in youth work party we have prepared Council conclusions on Enhancing the social inclusion of youth who are not in education, employment or training.

During the second semester of 2013 the following questions were prioritised:

1) enhancing the social inclusion of young people, with particular emphasis on young people not in employment, education and training (NEETs);

2) promoting cross-sectoral cooperation as the underlying principle of integral youth policy;

3) exchanging good practices on social inclusion of young people;

4) promoting cooperation in the youth policy field between young people from European Union and Eastern Europe and Caucasus countries.

Last updated: 17-11-2017