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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.3 National youth strategy

Last update: 14 February 2024

Existence of a National Youth Strategy

The Austrian Youth Strategy (Österreichische Jugendstrategie) is an ongoing process that aims to strengthen and develop youth policy across Austria. It aims to identify new fields of action, promote cooperation and implement concrete measures to support young people. Rooted in the government programme 2020-2024 (see Regierungsprogramm 2020-2024, page 196), the strategy is based on four major 'Fields of Action' (Handlungsfelder). These fields of action provide a framework for bundling and systematizing measures for young people and optimizing their effectiveness (see Scope and contents).

In this context, Austrian Youth Goals (Österreichische Jugendziele) have been developed for each field of action, and they are regularly evaluated and reflected upon with young people in ‘Reality Checks’. This active youth participation (one of the 4 fields of action) allows for the evaluation of goals and measures in relation to the lifeworlds and concerns of young people, and contributes to including their needs and perspectives in the elaboration of youth goals and measures. The Austrian Youth Goals have been linked to the individual European Youth Goals of the EU-Youth Strategy 2019-2027, with the aim of contributing to their implementation.

The strategy, which is cross-sectoral and involves all federal ministries, allows for constant screening and proximity to the target group. This enables the strategy to respond to changing challenges and act in a trend-setting manner, with all federal ministries contributing to the implementation process by developing measures for the existing or new youth goals.

Scope and contents

As Austria recognizes the importance of investing in its youth, the Austrian Youth Strategy was launched as an ongoing initiative aimed at enhancing and improving youth policy in the country. The strategy focuses primarily on young people between the ages of 14-24 and those under 30, and is structured around four key areas of action: learning and employment, participation and initiative, quality of life and cooperative spirit, and media and information. To achieve its goals, each field of action has several Austrian youth objectives (Jugendziele) that have been designed to set policy direction and improve outcomes for young people across the country.

The Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery sees itself as the driving force behind this initiative. The responsibility for implementing these measures lies with those involved in shaping social policy and requires a broad youth policy consensus and a cross-sectoral approach. In the following, scope and contents of the fields of action are presented:

Learning and Employment (Bildung und Beschäftigung)

In the field of ‘Learning and Employment’, the strategy aims to secure young people’s future by providing them with high-level qualifications that will enable them to meet current and future challenges in the working world. The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is responsible for supporting young people who have not completed education above compulsory schooling level with further vocational education and training to enable to have a good start in working life. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy is responsible for teaching young people to think and act economically and supporting them in implementing their ideas. The Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for providing young people with the acquisition of financial literacy, which is a key factor in career success and economic self-determination.

Participation and Initiative (Beteiligung und Engagement)

The Austrian Youth Strategy focuses on promoting engaged young people who want to participate and have a say in the field of ‘Participation and Initiative’. The strategy sets the voting age at 16 since 2007, making Austria one of the pioneers in Europe in terms of participatory democracy among young people. The strategy aims to promote a long tradition of voluntary engagement among young people to further involve them in social participation. The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is responsible for promoting participation in science and research to encourage young people to actively participate in the respective fields. The strategy aims to design framework conditions and structures that support and strengthen young people to actively deal with crises and to experience themselves as self-effective and capable of taking action (interdepartmental).

Quality of Life and Spirit of Cooperation (Lebensqualität und Miteinander)

The Austrian Youth Strategy in the field of ‘Quality of life and Spirit of cooperation’ aims to provide young people with independence and self-reliance tools and to promote active, sustainable, and safe mobility. The Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery maintains and creates space for young people in public life and supports their integration and empowerment, especially young women. The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection promotes psychosocial health by enhancing young people's health and life skills. The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research promotes social-emotional skills and safe learning environments in schools through initiatives such as the ‘School Wellbeing Zone’ (Initiative Wohlfühlzone Schule). This program supports educational universities and health promotion actors to advance school development in psychosocial health and (cyber)bullying prevention, with a focus on sustainable success through strategies targeting school climate, culture and relationship management. 

Media and Information (Medien und Information)

Within the area of ‘Media and Information’, the strategy aims to strengthen the media literacy of young people and improve their participation in social dialogue. The Department for Family and Youth at the Federal Chancellery is promoting youth media literacy through the Media-Youth-Info Centre (MJI). The MJI is developing new media education workshops and seminars for young people, parents, and educational professionals, and working with external organizations to offer them throughout the federal states. The MJI is also collaborating with other institutions to produce brochures and publications on media literacy, foremost with (in German). The strategy aims to educate young people on safe and conscious use of digital technologies and to promote media and information literacy.

Responsible authority for the implementation of the Youth Strategy

The Austrian Youth Strategy, led by the Federal Chancellery of Austria (Bundeskanzleramt Österreich), prioritises the well-being and future prospects of young people through cooperation between federal ministries. While the Federal Chancellery drives the strategy, political decision-makers are tasked with its implementation, making it a collective responsibility across all levels of government and ministries (see Scope and contents)

Each federal ministry has thus appointed a ‘youth coordinator’ (Koordination in den Bundesministerien) to prioritise youth policy as a cross-cutting issue. These coordinators facilitate internal processes and act as liaison with the Youth Competence Centre at the Federal Chancellery. In addition, a coordination group composed of these coordinators ensures consistent communication and information exchange and promotes cross-sectoral cooperation to explore new opportunities for cooperation.  

Youth Competence Centre (Komptenzzentrum Jugend)

The Competence Centre for Youth, located within the Federal Chancellery's Department for Family and Youth, plays a central role in the implementation of the Austrian Youth Strategy. It oversees the coordination of youth objectives across federal ministries, leads key coordination groups, supports youth research, facilitates participatory processes and works with relevant stakeholders to promote a comprehensive approach to youth policy. 

Development Group (Entwicklungsgruppe Jugendstrategie)

The Development Group, led by the Competence Centre for Youth at the Federal Chancellery, supports the Austrian Youth Strategy, especially in the area of youth participation. It meets regularly and includes input from various stakeholders, such as the National Youth Council (Bundes Jugend Vertretung), the Austrian Youth Information Network (Bundesnetzwerk Österreichischer Jugendinfos), the National Network for Open Youth Work (Bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit), the National Agency for Erasmus+ (OeAD Erasmus+), the National Correspondent for the European Youth Research Network, and representatives of the Department for Youth Policy at the Federal Chancellery, to ensure that young people's perspectives are reflected in the implementation of the Strategy.


The Austrian Youth Strategy is continuously revised, with major revisions taking place at least once per legislative period. Updates on this process can be found on the website of the Federal Chancellery under Documentation of the Youth Strategy (Dokumentation der Jugendstrategie).

On 20 December 2023, the Implementation Report 2022 on the Austrian Youth Strategy (Umsetzungsbericht 2022 zur Österreichischen Jugendstrategie) was adopted by the Council of Ministers. It provides an insight into the progress of the youth objectives and related measures on the basis of reports from individual federal ministries. It also covers the structure and participatory elements of the Austrian Youth Strategy.

In 2020, the Austrian Federal Government decided to continue the Austrian Youth Strategy and, in order to ensure transparency in the process, it established a regular reporting system. On 8 September, the Council of Ministers adopted the progress report for 2021 on the Austrian Youth Strategy (Fortschrittsbericht 2021 zur Österreichischen Jugendstrategie).

In 2018, the strategy was renamed and expanded to include the media and information sector. From 2019 onwards, the government formulated Austrian Youth Goals in line with the four key areas of the strategy and directed measures towards achieving these goals or generating new ones. This change marked the evolution of the strategy into what is now recognised as the Austrian Youth Strategy, with the government continuing to formulate Youth Goals based on the established framework.