The European Commission’s White Paper on Youth in 2001 invites the Member States to ensure an effective planning and implementation of national youth policies. Since then, there has been an increased attention on youth in the national political agenda and many discourses regarding their social integration. Based on a comparative analysis of policies and discourses on youth and youth participation that we conducted in eight European countries (PARTISPACE Project, Horizon 2020), the aim of this article is to start a pedagogical reflection on youth participation and the way to promote it: both in term of young people’s engagement for individual identity building, self-realization and in term of community development. After presenting what images of youth are proposed in the national policies and discourses, which youth issues are prioritized and measures suggested to promote youth participation, we propose some reflections about the connection of pedagogy and policy and the way in which education could foster a real youth participatory attitude, especially for what concerns ‘disadvantaged’ young people.

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