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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


9. Youth and the World

9.7 Current debates and reforms

The refugee crisis and its consequences, concerning both the assessment of the EU migration policy in the last decade, as well as proposed solutions and Polish authorities’ reaction to them, are a subject of a wide public debate in Poland.

Another important dispute concerns ecology, especially in the context of air pollution and the use of ecological energy sources (including limiting the use of traditional sources). The conflicts in this respect are caused by the question of pollutant emissions from car transport (a major problem in large cities), as well as the so-called ‘low emissions’ caused by combustion in domestic boilers (which particularly affects smaller towns and rural areas).

During the dispute, voices were raised indicating the need for greater representativeness of bodies that represent the youth, since they provide opinions on projects of legal acts. This is especially important with regards to the Children and Youth Parliament, which became a place for the young elites that seek to mimic the political debates happening in the actual Parliament, and whose sessions are sometimes attended by representatives of youth wings of political parties. The matters of representativeness are also infringed upon by the tendency for the top-down creation of various bodies (e.g. the Children and Youth Council at the Ministry of National Education) which are then filled with youth that supports the government - the aforementioned Council is partly staffed by assistants to parliament members of the government coalition. A solution to this problem could be found in giving room to grassroots activity in the non-governmental sector (e.g. the activities of the Polish Council of Youth Organisations PROM – Polska Rada Organizacji Młodzieżowych PROM) Another matter is the question of whether it is more appropriate to create councils dealing with general youth issues, or rather more specialized bodies dealing with certain issues, as the aforementioned Youth Climate Council. Such a solution would be less attractive to members of partisan youth organisations and would give a chance for discovering energy and potential of young socially engaged people.

Debates are ongoing on the suggested amendment to the article 5b of the Act on municipal government, which is the basis on which Municipal Youth Councils are created. Proposed changes would give the Youth Councils greater powers, especially with regards to a greater ability to propose resolutions.