The “Evaluation of the Implementation of the EU Youth Strategy in Germany” project serves to monitor and evaluate the process of the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy in Germany since the beginning of the process in 2010.

The foundation was the “Renewed framework for cooperation between EU countries in the youth field for the period 2010-18” (shortly: EU Youth Strategy). On 27/11/2009, it was adopted by the Ministers for Youth of the EU Member States. The EU Youth Strategy is aimed to ensure that the EU Member States generate new youth policy momentum in their respective countries. The way they do this is totally up to them.

Germany went the innovative way of political governance and organised the implementation in an institutional process of cooperation between Federation and Länder. The DJI monitored this cooperation process in three phases. In the first phase, the structural implementation of the EU Youth Strategy was evaluated as a governance model.

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In order to evaluate the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy, the first project phase served to draw on the conceptual framework of the multi-level-governance approach. Unlike a centralised top-down approach, pursuant to which social and economic stakeholders are solely governed by laws and regulations of the state, the multi-level-governance approach is used to describe a mode of cooperative governance. Against this background, the following question was considered in the first project phase:

What beneficial structures are generated by the committees and event formats and what framework conditions contribute to the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy and its objectives in Germany?

Methodical embedding in the form of an “interactive evaluation” ensured that feedback was obtained and discussions held among the stakeholders involved on both the methodical approach and the outcomes during the implementation process. In line with the complexity of the programme structure, the evaluation is based on a combination of collection methods:

 

Data collection:

  • qualitative surveys (100 phone interviews with different stakeholders)
  • participant observation (40 committee meetings on the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy and different events)
  • document analysis (meeting minutes, documentations on events, etc.)
  • online questionnaire (to question the participants of individual events)

 

Data evaluation:

  • qualitative content analysis
  • statistical data evaluation using quantitative methods

 

Key outcomes of the first phase:

  • A successful cooperation was established between Federation and Länder which became a prerequisite for a felicitous coordination.
  • The Länder initiatives allowed to establish additional coordination locations for the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy in Germany. They play an important role by integrating momentum from the EU and from the Federation/Länder Working Group into Länder level.
  • Public and private child and youth service organisations are informed of the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy through the National Dialogue and the Länder initiatives.

Based on the outcomes of the first phase, the second phase focused on two issues. First, it was analysed how Federation and Länder disseminated the momentum from the EU Youth Strategy at further levels. Second, it was analysed how the perspectives of young people, which manifested from the Structured Dialogue, were incorporated into the implementation process.

The second project phase (2015 - 2016) was focused on the actions and the generated or anticipated feedback taken by Federation and Länder to implement the EU Youth Strategy as part of the Participation Theme Corridor.


The second project phase comprised two modules:

The centres of evaluation in Module 1 “Actions in the Participation Theme Corridor” were measures taken to help further the implementation process at the different levels, especially at the federal levels below the Länder. The evaluation was aimed at obtaining an overview of the different actions and at visualising feedback.

Module 2 served to examine to what extent the Structured Dialogue allowed to systematically incorporate the perspectives of young people in the governance process of the EU Youth Strategy. In concrete terms, the question arose as to what extent the outcomes of the consultation procedures in the committees (especially in the Federation/Länder Working Group) were perceived and taken into account in the further implementation process.

 

Concept and Method of Phase 2

In line with the complexity of the process, the evaluation was based on a combination of collection methods.

Module 1: In a first step, strategies and initiatives taken at the different levels were documented and systematised. The existing data material from the first project phase and other already available documents were analysed in order to collect these methods. Moreover, a keyword-based online search was performed. In a second step, the systematised actions were typologised by certain characteristics. In a last step, one or two example(s) was/were analysed in detail for each type for illustration.
The actions collected in this manner were reviewed with a view to assessing how they had furthered the implementation process at the different levels. Moreover, (anticipated) feedback was visualised, and a model was developed to analyse them.

Module 2: To collect information on how the perspectives of young people - here defined as the outcomes from the Structured Dialogue - are integrated into the governance process, a first step served to analyse the minutes of the committees on the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy. The issue here was to ascertain in what committees and in what form the outcomes of the Structured Dialogue had been discussed. In a second step, qualitative guideline-based interviews were conducted with committee members to qualify the findings based on their statements.

 

Key outcomes of the second phase:

Module 1:

  • This module allowed to identify six types of actions: electronic documents, events, projects, coachings, political generations of momentum and structures.
  • The more types are used, the more the EU Youth Strategy is known in the Länder.
  • The implementation is particularly sustainable if structures are combined with other types of implementation.

 

Module 2:

  • A positive attitude towards the Structure Dialogue reigns among the members of the committees for the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy in Germany. However, the stakeholders are in agreement that the realisation in its current concept at European level does not work in Germany.
  • Consultation results from the Structured Dialogue are not discussed in the committees, and it takes too much time to obtain feedback from the committees.
  • The Structured Dialogue is rather designed as an opinion poll and less as a participation of young people in decision-making processes.

 

 

After completion of phases 1 and 2, the third phase of evaluation began in 2017. Its focus was to comprehensively balance the entire implementation process (2010 - 2018). Building on the preceding phases, the third phase serves to finally evaluate the implementation process before a new form of youth policy cooperation will start at EU level as from 2019.

The third phase helps to trace how the cooperation between federal, state and local governments, which was described in detail in the first phase as governance model (cf. Final Report Phase 1), evolved over time and what the substantive outcomes of the cooperation were like. It is also examined to what extent the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy contributed to integrating the German perspective resp. debate into the European process.

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Finally, the analyses should be used to derive recommendations for future cooperations in this vein. Hence, the aim is to demonstrate the both substantive and structural momentum that can be generated by the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy to enhance (youth) policy at national and European level.

To balance the entire implementation process from 2010 to 2018, the first step was to reconstruct outcomes at both structural and substantive level. Versatile data material from the first two phases was already available (interviews, (observation) minutes and minutes of the individual meetings, discussion and position papers) and used for a secondary analysis to that end. To analyse how outcomes of the German debate had been fed into European level and how they had been dealt with, twelve qualitative, guideline-based interviews were conducted with stakeholders at national and European level.

 

Besides the secondary analysis and the interviews, two focus groups were realised with stakeholders from the different governance committees (e.g. Federation/Länder Working Group and advisory board). The focus groups served as a data basis to analyse the factors fostering or hindering the accomplishment. In this context, it was also possible to discuss potential advancements and momentum in the implementation process. Moreover, the focus groups served to validate the elaborated outcomes.

The final analysis is carried out using the entire data material. On this basis, conclusions for the advancement of youth policies are phrased at both national and European level.

The evaluation findings were presented to the public on the 14th Forum on Perspectives of European Youth Policy on 8 November 2018 and are published in different journals.

The analysis results should encourage discussions among all stakeholders involved.

Further details can be found under “Publications” on our project website.

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In 2019, all findings will be interrelated and put into the overall context of the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy to combine the experiences of this implementation process and to illustrate what can be inferred from this for future (youth policy) cooperation processes.

Contact

+49 89 62306-109
Deutsches Jugendinstitut
Nockherstr. 2
81541 Munich

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