Varaždin for the European Youth Capital 2021 team attended the European Youth Friendly Cities Conference in Thessaloniki, where youth policies, views on participatory budgeting, using digital tools and the immense benefits of speaking to young people in the right way were presented.
Com’on Europe project’s objective is to contribute to the improvement of civic participation of young people in local life through local level participatory budgeting mechanisms. The project will contribute to the increase of young people’s spirit of creativity, associativity, entrepreneurship, and community development by providing a safe environment for planning and coming forward as informal groups with small-scale initiatives, while providing funding on behalf of the municipalities or other donors and sources of funding, and delegating decisions towards the local community about initiatives which should to be supported through this process. (http://comoneurope.org/about)
The thoughts on youth field and adequate youth policies were presented by Mr. Babis Papaioannou, Executive Director of Thessaloniki 2014 European Youth Capital, and Mr. András Farkas, Secretary General of the Network of European Youth Capitals and project coordinator of Com’On Europe. The European Youth Card Association was presented by Mr. Manel Sanchez, and he outlined the card provides various discounts and rewarding system – for example, rewards when buying a healthy lunch using the card. Mr. Carlos Santos, Programme Coordinator of 100% Youth City Quality Label explained the steps and measures that a city can take in order to become 100% Youth Friendly. These include Youth Sector Financial support, Youth Infrastructures and Technical support, Municipality Youth Councils and co-management and a Strategic Youth Development Plan.
The conference was also the opportunity for previous and further European Youth Capitals to present their work and programme, hence their programme presented Mr. Rodrigo Melo e Castro, representing Cascais, Portugal (EYC 2018), Ms. Valentina Antić, coordinator of Novi Sad programme OPENS2019, Ms. Gwenaelle Cluet Lia, representing Amiens EYC 2020, Mr. Mauro Capella from Torino (EYC 2010), Mr. Željko Milovanovič, representing Maribor EYC 2013, Mr. Ovidiu Cîmpean from Cluj-Napoca (EYC 2015), Mr. Mushfig Jafarov from Ganja (EYC 2016) and Mr. Mircho Stoykov Hristov from Varna (EYC 2017).