5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation
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Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation
There is no unique strategy for young people's political and civil society participation. However, there are a number of separate plans that correspond to this thematic content, and they are described in several official governmental documents that will be discussed in depth.
A national strategy is the most central and valuable tool not only for dealing with malfunctions but much more for the proper use and exploitation of all the possibilities of an organised legal society and state and avoiding derailments in the long-term path to achieving the goals of participation. The National Youth Empowerment Strategy 'Youth '17-'27' came at the right time to create the framework within which youth policies, programmes, and services are drawn up, evaluated, and continuously updated with the aim of improving their daily lives in all fields of social life.
Therefore on March 17, 2021, by the decision of the Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a committee was established with the aim of drafting the National Strategy for the Equality of LGBT+. The committee began its work immediately with weekly teleconferences and regular thematic exchanges. It studied both the Strategy for LGBT+ Equality of the E.U. as well as the experience of other countries in this field. It requested and took into consideration the memoranda submitted by civil society stakeholders, especially LGBT+ organizations. Based on all the relevant data and suggestions it collected, the committee came up with a series of guidelines and proposals inspired by the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity, characteristics, and gender expression. These proposals included plans to increase the participation of the LGBT+ community. The Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis published the National Strategy for the equality of LGBT+ on the website primeminister.gr
According to the National Strategy for the Equality of LGBT+, the creation and development of support structures for LGBT+ students could also be considered. The purpose of the support structures for LGBT+ students is the development of innovative methods, services, and practises to promote the equal participation of LGBT+ students in university life.
Moreover, in the same strategy, the participation of the LGBT+ community in the voluntary blood donation process should be encouraged. The form designed by the National Blood Donation Center and filled out by potential blood donors excludes "anyone who has had even one same-sex relationship since 1977", wording which, on the one hand, perpetuates the stigma faced by homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people. On the other hand, it is wrong. It should also be noted that although in Greece the rate of participation in blood donations is higher than in other EU countries, the need for blood is considered very important. The result is that we import blood from abroad. Based on the above data, it is proposed to abolish the existing complete blood donation ban and replace it with a blood donation ban for those who have had sexual contact in the previous three months with a person or people belonging to vulnerable groups, i.e., in communities where the HIV virus is found statistically at a higher rate than the average, as shown by the epidemiological data. Based on generally accepted modern medical data, a period of three months is considered absolutely safe to detect the HIV virus in the initial stage of infection. At the same time, wording should be determined that will be accurate and inclusive for transgender people, but on the other hand, will be understandable and clear for prospective blood donors. Furthermore, it is considered necessary to provide for updating the framework every two years, taking into account the rapid scientific developments that affect every aspect of the issue under consideration.
For the implementation of the recommendations in the conclusion of the national strategy for the rights of LGBT+, the cooperation and coordination of many agencies is necessary. Given the experience of other countries but also taking into account the special characteristics, the structure and the operation of the Greek administrative machinery, it is considered appropriate that the competent governmental structure that will be established should be subordinated, at least during the first phase of its operation, to the Presidency of the Government.
In particular, it is proposed to establish, with a special legislative provision and coordination function, a "National Mechanism for Equal Rights of LGBT+". LGBT+ mechanism communicates with the individual ministries or other state agencies with competence on individual issues, coordinates their actions, resolves any conflicts of competence and controls the course and result of the implementation of the goals, being in close cooperation and consultation with the LGBT+ community. It is also imperative that, per ministry, there be at least one executive who will act as a point of reference and cooperate both with the structure that will be established and with the other executives from the co-competent ministries.
Moreover, The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth is responsible for the management of the actions mentioned in "Youth 17-27" Strategy, its tasks include the following:
• Draws up the National Strategy with the aim of implementing policies on youth issues.
• Consults with Stakeholders.
• It documents the outcomes of the consultations.
• Confirms and intervenes adjunctively, if necessary, in the decisions, directives, and actions of the Ministries, in order to develop the possibly necessary synergies and ensure harmonisation with the goals of the "Youth 17-27" Strategy.
The Strategies have not yet undergone any recent revisions.