18 months. 18 incredible months for a very special process: the Process of the Structured Dialogue. According to the European Youth Forum, ‘Structured Dialogue means that the relevant institutions and actors are involved, leading to a common goal, with mutual respect for the partners (whether institutions or interest groups); that the process is participatory and meaningfully structured (in order to ensure coherence between the actors consulted and the consultation process). To ensure ownership of the dialogue process by all the actors involved, its agenda and priorities should be decided together.’
The process of 18 months had 3 phases, each of them being organised by each country from the Trio Presidency (Spain, Belgium and Hungary) and was composed of a round of National consultations and a Youth Conference where the results of the consultations were discussed and prepared for the next phase.
Facilitated by the International Support Structure (where I am one of the 8 facilitators that form this structure ), the Youth Conferences in Jerez (Spain), Leuven (Belgium) started from setting youth priorities related to employment and social inclusion and than focused on concrete recommendations for those priorities.
Between 2nd and 4th of March 2011, I had again the chance to facilitate together with my other 7 colleagues from the Support Structure, what was the third Youth Conference of the Trio Presidencies of the Council of the European Union – under the Hungarian Presidency, where 8 strong recommendations were prepared. The Conclusions will make the basis for a Council Resolution on the Structured Dialogue, to be adopted by all the EU27 in May
18 months ago it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but with a bit of courage, together with the international team and the teams from Spain, Belgium and Hungary, we made it happen although there was no manual describing the process and how to use it.
18 historical months because it was the first time in history all relevant actors sat together, on equal terms, to discuss the future of young people, and the decision was not made exclusively by policy makers. Also, it was the first time we had National Consultations as a tool of ensuring quality, consistency and reality of the Conferences.
More about the Structured Dialogue here.