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News / Western Balkans Youth Forum 2021 kicks off today!
The Western Balkans Youth Forum 2021, a side event organised in the lead-up to the Western Balkans Berlin Process Summit, got underway today. The event brings together 80 young leaders and decision-makers from across the region and the European Union to discuss the challenges facing youth in the region and how to improve their position and lives.
In a welcome video message, German Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel pointed out that the youth exchanges is something that brings us closer together, that sows the seeds of understanding and trust between societies.
Acting Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Mr Maciej Popowski, said that a better region starts with young people and that they should influence policies that shape their lives. He underlined that the Youth Forum is a perfect opportunity for young people to voice their needs and expectations and added that the European Union remains committed to the Western Balkans also through supporting youth, education and mobility.
A number of selected Young European Ambassadors – a creative network of future young game changers established in 2020 under the EU Regional Communication Programme for the Western Balkans – are taking part and co-chairing different working groups. Challenges and topics under discussion include Reconciliation & Peacebuilding, Volunteering, New Skills for Future, Sustainable Development, shifting “Brain Drain” to “Brain Gain”, and how to increase Youth Participation.
The Youth Forum is co-organised by Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) and German-French Youth Office (OFAJ) with the support of German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and co-funded by the European Union. The event continues on 4-5 July. At the end of the Forum, young leaders will develop a Regional Youth Agenda (RYA) to present to the Western Balkans Summit of Leaders.
Source: Regional Youth Cooperation Office
Photo credits: Regional Youth Cooperation Office
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