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In Poland there is no document fulfilling the criteria of a strategy for the social inclusion of young people. There are more general documents with the status of programmes, in which such activities constitute one of several elements, often in the context of supporting the family, rather than strictly in age categories. The key documents include “The National Programme for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2020. A New Dimension of Active Inclusion” (Krajowy Program Przeciwdziałania Ubóstwu i Wykluczeniu Społecznemu 2020. Nowy wymiar aktywnej integracji) (it includes the Operational Objective, which aims to provide guarantees for the future of the youth– create opportunities for young people to enter the labour market and start a family), and the Programme: “Active Forms of Combating Social Exclusion – A New Dimension 2020” (Aktywne formy przeciwdziałania wykluczeniu społecznemu – nowy wymiar 2020), where one of the Specific Objectives purports to “integrate young people, particularly from communities at risk of social exclusion, into the local environment through education and integrative activities”. These programmes are described in Section 4.4.
At the stage of preparations for Poland’s accession to the European Union, young people were singled out as one of the partner groups upon which to form the basis of integration. At the then Office of the Committee for European Integration (a government agency which was co-ordinating activities aimed at joining the EU), the Consultation Board for the Youth was established. It was one of the seven Boards forming the National Council for European Integration. As a result, “The State Strategy for Youth for 2003-2012” (Strategia państwa dla młodzieży na lata 2003–2012) was developed. The work of the European Commission inspired this document. The work was supervised by the no longer existing Ministry of National Education and Sport. In this Strategy, youth were defined as a group of 15 to 25 year olds, and the main goal was to “create the right conditions for young people aged 15 to 25 to enable them to participate in social, cultural and political life on an equal footing with other social groups” (Zielińska, 2009). The Strategy identifies five areas of activity: youth education; employment; youth participation in public life; leisure time, culture, sport, and tourism; health and prevention. In 2005 the Strategy was recognised by authorities as a core document in the field of youth policy as a result of the Government’s Position on the implementation of the European Youth Pact. A decision was made to take action to improve the quality of private and working life for young people, and the State assumed the role of “organiser of publicly available high-quality education corresponding to the needs of a knowledge-based society and the labour market, creator of market instruments enabling the professional activation of young people, initiator of young people’s active participation in social and civic life, and organiser of universal and accessible basic and specialised health care” (Zielińska, 2009). Some of the tasks set out in the Strategy have been implemented, but in 2009 public discourse revealed that it was becoming ‘dead’ and was no longer treated as a document that organises activities related to youth issues (Zielińska, 2009). Since 2012 there has not been any new strategically significant document created at the central level referring specifically to young people.