COMECE Youth Net convenes in Warsaw to empower youth participation in solidarity and democracy

On 19-21 April 2024, the COMECE Youth Net convened a meeting in Warsaw, gathering young delegates from the EU Bishops’ Conferences to discuss fostering solidarity and enhancing youth engagement in the democratic processes of the European Union. Photo Gallery

Young delegates of the EU Episcopates to the COMECE Youth Net. (Photo: COMECE)

During the event, participants emphasized that intergenerational dialogue remains sparse in many EU Member States, which leaves young people feeling excluded from decision-making processes. In the context of intergenerational solidarity, COMECE General Secretary Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, who also took part in the meeting, underscored the significance of the ethos of caretaking, stating: “We must take care of those who came before us, for those around us, and for those who will come after us”.

In a session focused on solidarity, speakers from the Youth Committee of Solidarnosc and the Polish Bishops’ Conference Team for Aid to the Church in the East presented their work. They discussed fostering practical solidarity through volunteering and assistance in employment and conflict situations. They particularly stressed the need for history education for young people today and highlighted the fundamental role played by nurturing human relationships as an antidote to individualism and loneliness.

Pointing to empirical evidence, one of the speakers elaborated on youth participation, highlighting that contemporary youth are not merely disengaged; instead, they operate within a transformed landscape. This requires a broadened perspective on political engagement to accommodate new actors and dynamics.

In addition to exchanging insights on recent developments within their respective Bishops’ Conferences, participants shared valuable experiences and best practices. Many delegates reflected on their involvement in last year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon and the latest Youth Net’s webinar on Christians’ role in political participation. They also discussed challenges stemming from their national political situations and other pertinent events in their countries.

The meeting also served as a platform for the young delegates of EU Episcopates to discuss their annual contribution on the topic of digital challenges for families, which will be published in the coming months. Together, young delegates nurtured their relationships and mutual cooperation, underscoring COMECE’s commitment to empowering youth voices and enhancing their role in the dialogue between the Church and EU institutions.

Photo Gallery