Western Balkan Summit in Paris – ALDA took part on the Civil Society events
Political leaders of six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) together with leaders of EU-member states gathered in Paris on the 4th of July for the Western Balkan Summit.
The aim was to enhance the regional cooperation, 3 topics were the focus of the Summit: migration crisis, infrastructure and youth. The Summit was occasion for official launch of RYCO – the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. “Civil Society Forum” and “Connecting Youth - Western Balkans Youth Conference” were among the side events organized on the margins of the Summit. ALDA took part on these Civil Society events, represented by its team from the Balkans, Ms. Stanka Parac, the Balkan Regional coordinator and Ms. Ivana Dimitrovska, Head of ALDA Skopje office.
The Civil Society Forum brought together youth workers from EU member states and Western Balkans’ countries, who together discussed migration, climate change and green growth, bilateral disputes and youth cooperation. The conclusions from the debates were presented directly to the members of the European parliament and to Mr. Sebastian Kurz, who later presented the recommendations on the summit. The forum was coordinated by European Alternatives, ERSTE Stiftung, European Fund for Balkans, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Citizens for Europe and the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation.
Connecting Youth - Western Balkans Youth Conference, addressed the problems young people in the region face regarding education and mobility, employment, engagement and involvement, and the media. The participants actively participated in discussions about finding a way to support youth collaboration between Western Balkans’ countries and the EU member states. The conference was organized by the European Commission and the French Government and it was supported by the European Youth Forum and the SALTO South East Europe Resource Centre.
Youth was brought as priority of the EU and Balkan policies and the highlight of the event was the signature for the launching of RYCO – the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. RYCO will be operational from January 2017. Based in Tirana, it will be aiming to “promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region” through exchange. With this initiative, the six Western Balkans’ countries will implement joint programmes for young people to tackle the existing democratic, economic, education and innovation issues in the region.