1.4 Youth Policy Decision-Making
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The national youth policy is implemented by the Council of Ministers through the minister of youth and sports in accordance with the national youth strategy.
The national youth strategy is prepared by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and is then submitted for approval by the Council of Ministers. Then the Council of Ministers submits the national youth strategy for adoption by the National Assembly.
The minister of youth and sports coordinates the work of the central and territorial governmental structures with regard to the implementation of the youth policy and interacts with youth organisations for the realisation of the national youth policy. The minister further organises and coordinates programs and projects in the field of youth.
District governors ensure the implementation of the national youth policy within the territory of the respective district by maintaining close cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and with the youth organisations that are registered on their territory. They further formulate the priorities and specific objectives and measures for development of the regional youth policy.
A multi-sectoral approach is applied to the implementation of the national youth policy. While implementing the national youth policy, the minister of youth and sports is supported by the National Advisory Council on Youth. The National Advisory Council on Youth is a political body that gives opinions on legal regualtions and strategic documents relevant to the youth policy and suggests measures for achieving the objectives of the national youth policy. Its members are appointed at deputy-ministers level dealing with issues in the field of economy, tourism, labour and social policy, healthcare, culture, interior, justice, regional development and public works, finance, education and science and child protection. The council further comprises representatives of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, the National Representation of Student Councils and nationally represented youth organisations.
The Public Council on Youth Matters is another advisory unit to the minister of youth and sports. It prepares positions, gives opinions and proposes initiatives for solving problems under the jurisdiction of the minister of youth and sports. It consists of representatives of organisations registered under the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act for the purpose of carrying out activities in public interest and aiming at the implementation of youth activities. The Public Council on Youth Matters was initiated in 2017. In 2019, representatives of 12 new organisations joined to the previsous 27 members of the Council and currently there are 39 members. They have advisory role in the decision making process. The Public Council on Youth Matters discusses youth-relevant topics and actively participates in debates regarding the policy making process. The members are responsible for proposing concrete initiatives in the field of youth policy.
The latest amendments to the Youth Act that are currently in process of formal approval aim to formalise the role, function, composition and responsibilities of the Public Council on Youth Matters in the Youth Act.
In addition to the Public Council on Youth Matters, municipality youth councils and children’s parliaments are established. They are subsidiary and advisory bodies to the local authorities in the field of youth policy.
A special committee consisting of seventeen members of the Parliament is responsible for the matters related to youth, children and sports within the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Committee is responsible for the draft laws that Parliament is considering in the youth sector. It discusses, debates and gives opinions on youth issues in the Parliament. The Committee also communicates and cooperates with the other parliamentary committees when deciding on draft laws and other documents in the field of youth within the competence of the National Assembly.
The main themes of youth policy are defined in the national youth strategy. The current National Youth Streategy (2021-2030) defines the following themes: promotion of non-formal learning; promotion of employment and support of NEETs;promotion of engagement, participation and empowerment of young people; development and establishment of youth work at national level; connectivity, tolerance and European belonging; promotion of healthy and environmental-friendly lifestyle; promotion of culture and creativity among young people.
There is no National Agency for Youth. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has a department dealing with youth policies. The Youth Policies Directorate of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (дирекция “Младежки политики“ в Министерство на младежта и спорта) is responsible for the implementation of the national youth policy and youth programs and projects.
On annual basis the Ministry of Youth and Sports drafts a youth report. The annual youth reprot provides a summary of policies, measures and actions aimed at young people in the country implemented by the responsible institutions in pursuance of the objectives of the national youth policy. This report further contains detailed analysis of the status of the Bulgarian young people in terms of economic activity and career development, access to information and quality services, healthy lifestyle, prevention of social exclusion of young people with fewer opportunities, youth volunteering, active citizenship, young people in rural areas, international and intercultural dialogue and role of young people in crime prevention.
The annual report is approved by the Council of Ministers and is then adopted by the National Assembly.
The Bill for Amendment and Supplement to the Youth Act suggests changes in terms of youth policy monitoring and evaluation. The youth report will be made by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, approved by the Council of Ministers and adopted by the National Assembly every three years instead of every year.