Speaking at the conference for the launch of the "Youth for Europe" programme, Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research, education and training, set out her ideas for the assistance of young people in the European Union. Mrs. Cresson commented on the difficulties faced by young people in the European Union and underlined the originality of the "Youth for Europe" programme which should help promote real solidarity and European citizenship. She stressed, however, that the European Union must do more to help young people, notably by: facilitating their professional insertion, developing a sense of European citizenship, increasing exchanges, mobility, education and training, and fighting racism, intolerance and religious fanaticism. In this context, Mrs. Cresson outlined three specific proposals: - Stimulate mobility in education and training by increasing mutual academic recognition in higher education, developing European modules (language and subject) and European Masters and promoting apprenticeships at European level; - Support insertion and fight against educational failure by developing "second-chance schools" aimed at young people who have not succeeded in the traditional school system; - Develop a European civic service through which young people would be directly involved, for a period of six months to one year, in activities of general interest and responding to social needs. This action would be aimed at encouraging a sense of citizenship and solidarity (notably with third countries) whilst offering young people a learning experience and an opportunity to develop new skills and qualifications. A first European civic service project will be launched in Spring 1996 with 600 volunteers. In the longer term, the European Commission intends to propose an appropriate legal and financial framework to allow validation of the training experience and follow-up and the end of the period of civic service. Mrs. Cresson also proposed the creation of a Foundation which would be responsible for handling the offers of civic service coming from local authorities or companies and for raising funds, from private sources, to supplement public funding.