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The National Youth Program /2016-2020/ (Национална програма за младежта /2016-2020/) is one of the tools for implementation of national youth policy priorities. It is based on the needs of young people in the country and is in harmony with the priorities of the EU youth policy.
The strategic objectives of the program support the implementation of the following strategic goals of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) (Националната стратегия за младежта (2010-2020)):
- Facilitating the access to high quality service for special support and full-value personal and social development of young people in accordance with their needs and interests;
- Promoting healthy lifestyle among young people;
- Developing volunteer activities among young people as a driver for personal development, mobility, learning, competitive power, social cohesion, solidarity between generations and formation of civic self-awareness;
- Creating attractive environment for development of young people in small towns and in rural areas;
- Creating favourable, encouraging and supporting environment for professional realisation of young people in Bulgaria.
With the adoption of the new European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027 the process currently known as “Structured Dialogue” was transformed into “EU Youth Dialogue”. The new framework of the process defines the new priorities – Engagement, Inclusion and Empowerment. The purpose of the forthcoming Dialogue-related activities is to reach the so called unorganised youth – young people who are not members of youth organisations and are not part of informal groups. For this purpose the Structured Dialogue (Структурен диалог) website was created with online platform for participation.
The National Youth Forum (NYF) (Национален младежки форум (НМФ)) is the National Youth Council of Bulgaria. Together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the members of the National Working Group for implementation of the EU Youth Dialogue – youth organisations and institutions, NYF actively develops the theme of effective participation of young people in decision-making processes at national and European level. The National Youth Forum is the biggest youth platform in Bulgaria, which unites 50 youth organisations across the country. It is a full member of the European Youth Forum and active partner of national and European institutions for the establishment and advocacy of youth policies. Its mission is to represent the interests and needs of young people in Bulgaria focusing on the importance and significance of youth organisations, their development and participation in social and sociopolitical processes, and to ensure efficient structured dialogue through cooperation with the respective stakeholders and institutions making decisions in the field of youth policy.
The Public Council on Youth Issues is a consultative unit at the Minister of Youth and Sports for the establishment of positions, opinions and initiatives for solving problems within their jurisdiction. The Public Council discusses and makes proposals for draft legal regulations and strategic documents and proposes specific initiatives in the field of young people in the country, gives recommendations to the Minister of Youth and Sports for solving issues within the youth sector, coordinates the interaction between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and nongovernmental sector representatives when developing and implementing the youth policies. The members of the Council are representatives of organisations registered under the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act (Закона за юридическите лица с нестопанска цел) for pursuing activities in public benefit and for implementation of youth activities.
The National Consultative Youth Council is a consultative body supporting the Minister of Youth and Sports in the implementation of the national youth policy.
According to the data in Flash Eurobarometer No. 455 (published in 2018) in Bulgaria:
- 12% of young people are involved in a political organisation or a political party;
- 3% of young people are involved in an organisation promoting human rights or global development;
- 3% of young people are involved in an organisation active in the domain of climate change or environmental issues;
- 71% of young people have voted in any political election at local, regional, national or EU level during the last 3 years;
- 22% of young people have participated in organised voluntary activities.
According to the same study 65% of young people in Bulgaria believe that the environment protection and fight against climate change should be a priority of the EU, 28% believe that EU should have the management of migratory flows and integration of refugees as a priority, and another 6% state that this should be the democratic participation.
As stated in the 2018 Annual Report on Youth (Годишен доклад за младежта за 2018):
- Young people at the age of 15 – 19 are least interested in politics (3% - I am very interested, 22% - I am rather interested). The share of young people interested in politics increases with the age increase.
- 35% of young people in the country do not spend time to read latest news (15-19 years of age – those who are still not politically active.
- A 63% majority of young people believe that Bulgaria has rather benefitted of its EU membership. As a tradition, young people in Bulgaria have positive attitude to the EU membership.