BERANE – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of France organized Youth Talks in Berane on Wednesday 18 May. At this event, around 40 young people from Berane, Rožaje, and Plav, aged 15 to 25, got a chance to directly address diplomats and find out more about the European Union, the main areas it deals with, the importance of the EU integration process for Montenegro and the opportunities that the EU is offering to young people.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of France, Mr Laurent Goncalves, Program Officer at the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Ms Bojana Lalatović, International expert of the European integration office, Ms Isabelle Thomas Delic, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovakia, Mr Martin Balco, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Bulgaria, Mr Vasil Durev.
In her introductory speech, Ms Lalatović stated that thanks to the everlasting and successful cooperation between RYCO in Montenegro and the French Embassy, young people have the chance to participate in this kind of event which makes their voice be heard and allows them to get useful information about the opportunities for their personal and professional development. “The youth are the driving force of the positive changes in our society, and we are here to help YOUth in their mission to get to know each other better and to build bridges of cooperation”, she concluded.
In a conversation with students, Mr Goncalves underlined that French Embassy is perceiving young people as a key driver of change for the better. “Young people should be empowered to take ownership over the processes as they are the only ones entitled to it” he concluded.
Ms Thomas Delic emphasized that she is pleased to support Montenegro’s aspiration for EU membership while pointing out the benefits of joining the European Union.
Mr Balco mentioned that joining the EU is neither the beginning nor the end, but only the essential point in the process – which requires a lot of work and desire to solve the current challenges. “Montenegro has all the resources to succeed in that regard” he emphasized.
Mr Vasil highlighted that life in Bulgaria has changed a lot since it become the EU member. The economy has improved, and young people have been given more opportunities to travel, study abroad and later return and work in Bulgaria.
During this gathering, the young people from the Mixed Secondary School “Bećo Bašić” Plav, High school “Panto Mališić” Berane and Gymnasium “September 30” Rožaje were discussing the essential importance of the EU in our region, ways of cooperation between young people from Montenegro and wider, the availability of resources offered by the EU to young people, exchange programs, etc. Youth shared their point of view on youth status and suggested some ideas for improving their role in society.
The first event of this kind took place in Herceg Novi which gathered more than 30 youngsters and representatives of RYCO, French, Czech, Slovenian and Hungarian Embassies. The Youth Talks in Montenegro aim to bring together more than a hundred (100) young people aged 15 to 25, who come from different parts of Montenegro and who belong to different, ethnic, national and religious groups. Through a unique program of free dialogue activities with Deputy Ambassadors of EU Member States, representatives of the French Embassy and the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, young people have the opportunity to address decision-makers directly and learn more about the EU, its values, and the opportunities offered to young people.