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Legal/policy framework for the functioning and development of youth organizations
The rules governing the criteria and functioning of youth organizations can be found in the Constitution, articles 3 and 18, in the civil code, in the recent legislation on the third sector referred to in Legislative Decree 117/17. On a subsidiary basis, it is possible to refer to the criteria present in regional laws on youth policies (Cf. 5.3) and in national calls for projects issued by the Department for Youth Policy and Universal Civil Service.
At a general level, it should be highlighted that the agreement that is signed every year in the Unified Conference represents a participatory design tool also for the purposes of the definition of the operating and development strategies of youth organizations. The agreement defines the financial resources, objectives and priorities for interventions in support of youth organizations. The ministerial decree, which is issued annually by the delegated political authority in the field of youth policies, represents the final act of the planning and destination of the fund for youth policies, whose resources are significantly allocated to youth organizations, either directly or indirectly through the interventions of local authorities.
In 2019, for example, the “Fermenti” call was issued, a measure promoted by the Department for Youth Policy and Universal Civil Service, with the use of the resources of the aforementioned fund. (Cf. 1.7). The total budget is about € 19 million. This measure recognizes the role of young people as key players in the activation of change-oriented processes and encourages synergies as a lever for cohesion and social development. Within the call, the subjects who could present projects and receive funding are the following:
“Informal groups”, i.e. groups with a minimum of three and a maximum of five people between the ages of 18 and 35.
“Temporary associations of purpose” (ATS) between people who, on the basis of current legislation, are qualified entities of the third sector, consisting of a maximum of three entities, with a governing body consisting of a majority of young people between 18 and 35.
As part of the European Community objective of reducing the distance between young people and European institutions, harmonizing the policies of the member countries in the field of youth and directly involving young people in the decisions that affect them closely, the Erasmus + program allows for, with Action Key 3 - Support for policy reforms, the meeting between young people and youth policymakers.
It is possible to present a project of dialogue between young people and political decision-makers to the National Youth Agency of an association, a local authority or an informal group of young people.
Public financial support
According to the provisions of the Unified Conference of 29 January 2020,CU 12/2020, the fund share for 2020 directed to the Regions and the local government system is equal to 51% of the total of approximately €36 million of the fund for youth policies and was aimed at co-financing territorial interventions in the field of youth policies. These interventions are aimed at promoting:
- Social inclusion;
- Youth participation in social and political life of territories;
- Supporting autonomy and promotion of youth participation in cultural and sport activities;
- Non-formal education;
- Prevention and measures against new addictions.
According to the above mentioned, the Regions and the local authorities send the project proposals to the Department for Youth Policy and Universal Civil Service, relating to the interventions that are intended to be carried out, for the purpose of signing the collaboration agreement.
On August 4th 2021, the Conference decided to further widen the National fund by 35 milion of euros, stressing the necessity to support young people ho particularly suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to raise awareness on the usage of digital technologiues and to favour social innovation and inclusion, promoting sport activities and providing psychological support.
Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants
The National Youth Volunteer program (Universal civic service, Cf. 2.4) is open to citizens of EU countries and non-EU citizens legally residing in Italy. With the 2017 reform (Legislative Decree 40/2017), it introduced measures that encourage participation to the program for young people with fewer opportunities (young people with disabilities, low education and economic difficulties). In addition, the Universal Civil Service uses European funds to promote the inclusion of NEETs and young citizens of developing countries who are holders of international protection.