5.4 Young People's Participation in Policy-Making
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Formal Mechanisms of Consultation
The last amendments to the Youth Act (Закон за младежта) (in force as from 02.08.2022), made the already existing Public Council on Youth Matters (Обществен съвет по въпросите на младежта) formal (article 11a). The Public Council on Youth Matters discusses and gives proposals and opinions on draft legal regulations, discusses and gives proposals on draft strategic and programme documents and reports for the implementation of youth policy; proposes specific initiatives in the field of youth policies in the country, etc. The Public Council on Youth Matters is composed of one representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, one representative of each nationally representative youth organization, one representative of the National Representation of Student Unions (Национално представителство на младежките съвети), up to 14 representatives of youth organisations, up to 6 representatives of organisations working with and for young people. The Public Council on Youth Matters is formally established body at national level. The Public Council on Youth Matters holds meetings – physically, online or hybrid, sometimes consultations by email. Meetings and consultations are held on case-by-case basis.
In terms of local level, the same amendments to the Youth Act introduce the requirement that the mayors of municipalities with population over 45 000 people implement the municipal youth policy with the support of consultative councils on youth matters established by decision of the municipal council (article 15 (6)).
The Ministry of Youth and Sports also organises ad-hoc consultations by means of working groups – for example, on youth work and EU Youth Dialogue, by visiting different areas in the country and having discussions with young people at local level on different topics, for example, in the process of drafting the national youth strategy, etc., by organizing forums, conferences, youth information fairs, etc.
Another publicly available official consultation mechanism for everyone, including young people, is the Portal for Public Consultations (Портал за обществени консултации) where draft legislation, strategies, programs and other documents in all policy fields are uploaded for consultations with the public.
The members of the Public Council on Youth Matters are: one representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, one representative of each nationally representative youth organization, one representative of the National Representation of Student Unions, up to 14 representatives of youth organisations, up to 6 representatives of organisations working with and for young people.
Information on the extent of youth participation
No information on the extent of youth participation is collected.
Usually all reasonable comments, proposals and ideas of young people upon drafting legal regulations, defining strategic objectives, program areas of interventions, etc. are taken onboard and integrated into policy-making.
The outcomes from the consultations within the Public Council on Youth Matters are made public in the form of meeting minutes published on the National Youth Information System administered by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Large-scale initiatives for dialogue or debate between public institutions and youth people
On the occasion of the 12th of August every year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports organises various events and initiatives countrywide to celebrate the International Youth Day. Traditionally, these events comprise festivals, concerts, sports and art demonstrations, youth information fairs, etc., which are always accompanied with a kind of discussion forms between policy-makers and young people.
The latest large-scale initiative for dialogue with young people was organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in March 2023. This was the National Youth Conference “Project for Future” within the frames of the European Year of Youth. More than 100 young people took part in the event and discussed topics like green policies and education, youth health – physical and mental, prevention against aggression, violence and different forms of addictions, empowerment – young people in the decision-making processes, youth work.
Young people had the chance to exchange views and ideas for the future with public officials and experts in the field of education, social policy and labour, culture, etc.