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Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Forum for Children and Youth

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 7 december 2021.

Thank you, Secretary-General.

It is a privilege to join the Global Forum for Children and Youth.

During the climate summit in Glasgow, a young Filipino activist said: “I think world leaders hear us, but I don't think they listen to us.” Sadly, this is too often the case.

Our goal today must be to act on young people's concerns. This is what we are doing in Europe. I want 2022 to be the European Year of Youth. To honour, support and engage with young people: To make them central to all European Union policies - social, digital, or climate.

This year we presented the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child: To protect, promote and fulfil basic rights of young people. To improve quality education at home and abroad. I join the Secretary-General's call to all leaders, to step up pledges and commitments. To fill the funding gap - widened by COVID-19.

In the coming six years, the EU will devote over 6 billion euro to improving education in Africa, Latin America and Asia - some 13% of our development assistance.

Let us give each and every child the chance of a better future.

It is the best and most rewarding investment you can think of.

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