European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen designated 2022 as the European Year of Youth–“a year dedicated to empowering those who have dedicated so much to others”. This was meant to be a year to make up for the sacrifices made, and the difficulties faced, by young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and to tackle the reality that, in 2020, 25.4%, or 18.1 million, young people were at risk of poverty across the EU. They faced challenges related to education, training, employment, housing, health and social protection. While the Commission launched many youth-focused initiatives in 2022, the war in Ukraine has triggered massive increases in energy prices and all Europeans face rising inflation and recession. Young people across Europe face difficulties day-to-day and many are living in or at risk of poverty.
In its position paper, Caritas Europa presents some recommendations to the European Parliament in view of the upcoming 2024 European Parliament elections.