Youth Policy: Involving rural youth in decision-making

As discussed in a previous post, in October 2020, Coyote*, the online magazine published by the partnership between the European Commission and Council of Europe in the field of youth, reminded us of the important role that rural society continues to play in Europe. This is especially relevant when it comes to life decisions made by young people and their transition to adulthood. [1]

However, as MIJARC Europe observed in a study carried out in 10 different countries in Europe in 2019, rural youth encounter difficulties in participating and making their voice heard in decision-making and governance. Indeed, as this MIJARC study was able to prove, rural youth do not always have sufficient resources and information necessary for pro-active participation in decision-making. For instance, “according to a survey entitled Europeans, Agriculture and the CAP conducted in 2013 among European citizens and published in 2016, 56% of those polled said they were aware of the main principle of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP, supporting farmers by distributing aid) but did not know the details”. Even worse, “only 46% of the interviewees aged 15-24 years said they had heard about the CAP and 52% of them said they had never heard of it”.[2]

In view of this reality, in this blog, we explore 1) what the notion of « youth policy » involves in a video produced by the EU-CoE youth partnership and 2) how Rural Youth Europe does to help and change the situation.

What is youth policy?

Rural Youth Europe: the Rural Realities Form and the Policy Work Advisory Committee (PWAC)

As MIJARC Europe’s study has shown, youth participation is in the future, the precursor for adult participation and allow young people to become engaged and aware citizens.[3]

Throughout its new project entitled Together Thursdays, and funded by the European Parliaments Communications programme, Rural Youth Europe aims at raising awareness of the European institutions’ impact on the lives of rural youth, while promoting the active citizenship by giving a voice to the issues faced by rural youth in Europe. Read more about the project here>>

At the core of the project is the Rural Realities Form. The form is an online form where we encourage rural youth and rural youth organisations to answer questions about the barriers that they have found affect rural youths’ opportunities to participate in their local, regional, national and international democratic life. The form works as a mapping of the issues that rural youth struggle with, alongside highlighting some of the ways the rural communities have overcome and are working on overcoming their limitations. In consequence it will help for our communication to really speak for and to rural youth, in relation to issues they are facing in their lives.

📌 The form will soon be made available on our communications channels. Stay tuned!

Another activity included in the TT project is the Policy Work Advisory Committee (PWAC). The Committee is a space where the concerns of rural youth within our network will be discussed in connection with European level initiatives and policies related to rural lives. It will function as an expert group that will support the Together Thursdays project as workshop facilitators, give guidance on how to approach rural youth and support communication with the partners. The group will also feed into and contribute to RYEurope’s policy work.


[1] https://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/coyote-magazine/moving-rural-youth-forward

[2] https://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/coyote-magazine/lack-of-youth-participation-in-agricultural-policies

[3] https://mijarceurope.net/2019/12/03/new-report-on-the-state-of-youth-participation/