As part of the Tirana Connectivity Forum 2020, within the WBYCP activities, a side event dedicated entirely to the youth discussion took place at the second day of the Conference, in partnership with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Polish Presidency and Hanns Seidel Foundation. Building from the Chairs Conclusions in the Western Balkans Summit in Poznan of 5th of July 2019, that highlighted the necessity for the youth of the region to be better equipped with a wide range of entrepreneurship and soft skills, this year's discussion focused on the main priorities of the German Presidency of the Council of EU. In a context of limited possibilities and other obstacles due to the pandemic, youth work and its participation in the decision-making processes has taken a shock.
In her welcoming remarks, Ms. Hackaj emphasized the need for Regional Cooperation to be further supported and promoted. To this end, more financial resources ought to be provided for policies targeting education and employment with particular focus on young people. She suggested that "IPA support should be better aligned with the current Regional agendas and youngsters need more efficient and skilled national implementing counterpart structure". She mentioned as an issue to be addressed that these funds are channeled through the Governments in the region, who on their part fail to partner up with youth organizations and support their projects. In a final note, Ms. Hackaj deemed as crucial the promotion of best practices in youth cooperation to build narratives that make youngsters want to stay and not leave the region.
Mr. Đuro Blanuša in the position of Secretary General at the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, expressed the gratitude to the TCF20 for providing a platform for young people's issues to be brought up. He explained briefly that in spite of the obstacles that slowed down youth cooperation, RYCO has been able to adapt and keep up with the cooperation agenda. Regarding the enlargement process and the conditionality principle as very important feature for the region development, he highlighted that it is a process that directly benefits the citizens in the WB, not only the aim of the region to join the EU.
Coming to the panel, Mr. Tasev that is the Adviser for Youth and Sport in the Office of the Prime Minister in North Macedonia, brought up the governmental approach in supporting the youth in every aspect. According to him, the commitment to youth issues, support and inclusion in decision making processes is essential for the region. Meanwhile, by enhancing regional cooperation in the region, WB governments should send a message to young people that they can invest their potential to a future in the region.
Jochen Rummenhöller, Head of International and European Youth Policy, German Federal Youth Council (DBJR), contributed by offering the EU Youth structure's perspective towards cooperation and inclusion of their counterparts in the WB region. He mentioned that creating an instrument for the inclusion of young people and youth structures into the European ones remains a main priority of the trio-presidency of Germany, Slovenia and Portugal, as the current German Presidency will ensure its continuity in the Slovenian Presidency.
Andrea Mićanović, Coordinator for Montenegro of WBYCP, complemented the panel discussions offering her perspective as a youth representative. She noted the ever-growing contribution of young people into making the region a better place to live in, as youth cooperation and its importance is more than ever in the center of the public discourse. In addition, according to her perspective the young people are institutionally and systematically supported in their activities. Platforms such as WBYCP and initiatives like RYCO are contributing to further increase connectivity, the exchange of ideas and mobility in the region.
Here can be followed the full event discussion.