Luxembourg

Luxembourg has still a stable political and economic situation, which enables most young people good opportunities of training and working. Immigration of all kind is therefore very high and the challenge lays in the distribution of resources. Children of immigrants have a higher dropout rate at schools, often due to language problems. The communication between members of different communities is difficult and often stays very superficial. Adults complain a lot about youth but rarely take the opportunity of working together with them. The situation might be better than in other places but high suicide rates and other problems like drug abuse should alarm us.

I must be modest in this point, considering my short relationship with Luxembourg reality. What I have been able to realise is the emergency of the issue relating with immigration and some violence expressions. Here I take as reference what was submitted to the European Commission in 1999 by Luxembourg regarding violence in schools: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/archive/violence/docs_en.html . In our country the situation of youngsters is quite well. We are living in a country where poverty is not very high and where war did not exist since 1949. Our government has done a lot for the application of the European white paper. There you can find a strategy on how to create an appropriated youth policy. Consultations had been done between all the social partners concerning health, education, drugs, security on the roads, implication of youth in associations, and volunteerism. Young people in Luxemburg are like everywhere in front of globalisation or modularisation. I think that we should never forget that it is a problem which should be considered because the diversity of our planet should never be forgotten.

As mentioned by Claire Russon in 1999 in the Violence in Education Initiative of the European Commission (http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/archive/violence/initi_en.html), there is a development of violence expressions in different areas of Luxembourg’s society in particular, as well as in Europe in general. This is the result, in part, of the phenomenon of refugees and immigration between the European countries. It is clearly a priority for the European Union to work on the issues of democracy, tolerance, and pluralism with the young population.

The implementation of the White Paper. We are constantly trying to implement this European paper about youth policy in our society. We realised that we have to respect the transversal aspects of youth policy, because we can find a youth dimension in every policy. We want to promote the open method of coordination, which in our eyes is a good way to implement a common European youth strategy, by giving European directives. The Youth in Action Programme and the European Voluntary Service are active in Luxembourg. Unfortunately we have the problem that it is not very easy to encourage young people to volunteerism. We want to increase the recognition of non-formal education, which we can have by being engaged in associations or by participating in voluntary services. For example we want the creation of a certificate for volunteer activities. A next step has to be that we have to increase the quality, the budget and the information of volunteerism. Next step will be to offer the possibility to young leaders to participate in conferences and meetings by receiving free leave from their jobs and schools for such occasions. In Luxembourg we find pupil organisations in secondary schools, like the National Conference of Students, so that they are involved in the democratic system at a young age. Even in their classes they have to choose a delegate to represent them. High school and university students have a representing organisation too. In Luxembourg around 50% of pupils are foreigners. The problem is that we find fewer foreigners in higher school levels. For example Portuguese pupils have problems with the Germanic languages, which are required in our school system, so that we can talk about a scholarly apartheid. In fact our school system is too selective because of this language problem. One of our priorities is to promote a higher security on the roads. Because of the alcohol abuse and because of the fact of driving too fast, young people are behaving very insecure on the roads and often die of fatal accidents. Another priority is to propose better and healthier food in school restaurants. Concerning abortion, we are regretting the fact that many young girls have to go abroad, because they cannot find a place in Luxembourg to do it. First we want a better sexual education and then we want to offer young girls the possibility to abort if they want. Even the pill for the day after should be given for free.