5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making
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The role of young people in the formulation of policies considering a variety of topics depends on the nature of the topic. Usually, youth organisations and non-governmental organisations are invited to the Greek parliament to comment on the design of new laws or policies. To the best of our knowledge, there is no legal framework to define the obligation of the parliament or other governmental body to invite these organisations, and this matter totally depends on the public body’s committee that has been formed to issue the new policies. If the members of the committee decide that the advice from a youth organisation will improve the efficiency of the policy, then they will invite representatives of the youth organisation to comment on the initial plan of the policy. The regularity of the consultations is implemented on a case-by-case-basis and the method of consultation is usually by either online or face-to-face meetings between the public organisation and the youth unions.
As previously mentioned, there no official mechanism for the participation of a specific youth union to participate in the policy making process. However, most of the times, the Youth Parliament is divided into thematic groups and meets. The work of the Youth Parliament is completed with the presence and greeting of the President of the Greek Parliament, who provides extensive commentary on the young people's proposals to the Greek parliament on various issues beyond those that concern exclusively young people.
The proceedings of the Youth Parliament and other youth organisations participating in public discussions, including advice from the youth groups on the formation of public policies, are recorded by a secretary and stored in the public organisation’s archive.
Usually, the type of input requested from the youth groups is their opinion about the effectiveness of the suggested policy and the potential consequences of the policy for the young groups. Their opinion is integrated into the new policies by adopting the youth’s suggestions and including them in the final text of the policies. Although there is no obligation from the public organizations' side to mention the young group’s participation in the final form of the policy, usually the policymakers mention and thank them in public speeches.
The most top-level and widespread programme available to encourage youth participation in discussions or debates with public officials who make policy is the National Youth Council. The National Youth Council acts, in accordance with the law and the statute, in any way deemed appropriate by the administration of the institutions. Indicatively, and not restrictively, it:
- intervenes and publicly expresses views on youth policy issues;
- cooperates with other social bodies (university institutions, trade unions, other non-governmental organisations, etc.) and with bodies of the Greek State and the European Union,
- participates in national and international networks of organisations
- organises public events (conferences, workshops, debates, lectures, etc.),
- conducts applied research on topics relevant to its objectives and undertakes relevant research projects.
- sets up committees and working groups.