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Minister Byrne welcomes decision of President von der Leyen to make 2022 Year of the European Youth

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the Union address this morning, outlining her vision for Europe for the year ahead.

Speaking after the address, Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D.  praised von der Leyen’s clear vision for the European Union:

“Von der Leyen’s address focused on pragmatic solutions to the problems facing citizens. I was particularly struck by her recognition of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our youth: “a generation that sacrificed so much to keep others safe”. The decision of the Commission to make 2022 the Year of the European Youth recognises this sacrifice. In particular, I welcome that the President has announced a new programme which will offer concrete and tangible benefits to young European citizens.

The ALMA programme will offer young people the possibility of work experience in other member states. The programme aims to help those young people who do not have a job, or who have not received education and training, those who have “fallen through the cracks”. The Erasmus programme has been an enormous success and many Irish students have benefited from it. I hope ALMA will follow in the success of the Erasmus programme and look forward to developing this initiative here in Ireland”

I also hope that young Irish citizens will also get involved in the Conference on the Future of Europe and have their say on what they would like the EU to look like in the next five, ten, twenty years and would strongly encourage them to do so. The Conference’s Digital Platform ( is one such practical means of engaging and starting a conversation on where Europe is headed.”


Press Office

15 September 2021

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