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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Austria

Austria

5. Participation

5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation


Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation

There is no specific strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation. However, youth participation is one of the four major strategic framework objectives of the Austrian Youth Strategy (Jugendstrategie – see Chapter 1.3).

Scope and contents

Austrian Youth Strategy (Jugendstrategie): Participation

A thriving democracy needs ambitious people who want to take the initiative and participate and the conditions that support this initiative. This is especially the case for young people. They should be able to speak out, offer suggestions and participate in decisions that affect their lives. With its voting age set at 16 years, Austria is a pioneer in Europe with regard to participatory democracy among young people. Studies have shown that early inclusion in institutionalised participation systems such as elections generally results in a stronger desire to participate in political decision-making processes.

Besides elections, there are numerous forms of participation in Austria, of which only a portion are actually used by young people. It must therefore be clarified whether existing forms of participation truly meet the needs of today’s youth and howbarriers to participation can be lowered, especially for groups from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Corresponding National Youth Goals:
Participatory development

The development of a Youth Strategy without the participation of young people themselves would not be a contemporary form of youth policy. Thus, youth is involved directly through various forms of youth participation and indirectly through youth research and the involvement of the Federal Youth Council. The new EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 also integrates the Austrian results of the EU Youth Dialogue. Young people are involved in the development of goals and measures for the Austrian Youth Strategy (“reality checks").

Participation Guidelines

The participation unit ‘beteiligung.at is a specialist contact partner for the involvement and participation of children, young people and adult citizens in socio-political life. The unit compiled an overview (German only) of participation opportunities for young people in Austria. The focus of the research was on legally guaranteed opportunities on behalf of the Federal Chancellery . The search referred to consolidated laws of federal and state law, regulations were only consulted in particularly relevant cases.

The ARGE Partizipation has developed Guidelines for youth participation on several levels:

Responsible authority for the implementation of the strategy

In order to implement youth policy in an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary way, all Ministries have their own youth policy campaignsand initiatives. They thus all hold responsibilities when it comes to youth participation as well as the implementation of the joint Youth Strategy. Acting specifically for youth policy is the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery, which is responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the Youth Strategy. The provinces, cities and municipalities also hold responsibilities to implement youth participation in their own policy fields.

Revisions/Updates

Youth research provides an evidence-based evaluation of the implementation.

The Austrian Youth Strategy is regularly evaluated and updated. Revisions are made continuouslyand at least once every legislative period. In 2019, the new Youth Goals were developed.