PODGORICA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro in cooperation with the Embassies of France and Germany and with the French Cultural Institute organized the special edition of “Youth Talks”, on the occasion of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, in Podgorica, on January 26.
This event gathered more than 50 young people, aged 18-35, from different parts of Montenegro, who got the chance to take part in an open discussion with Mr. Edin Koljenović, Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro, H.E. Mr. Christian Thimonier, Ambassador of France and H.E. Mr. Peter Felten, Ambassador of Germany.
The discussion was structured around the reflections on regional cooperation between France and Germany, the beginnings of their joint actions in the second half of the 20th Century, and the importance of the Elysée Treaty, in that regard. This was deepened by discussion about the mechanisms for dealing with the past which, the challenges their societies have faced, the results they have achieved united in values, and taking concrete actions and investments for the benefit of youth. Besides that, young people used this chance to get to know more about the available mobility programs, and other educational and professional opportunities these counties, as well as the European Union, is offering.
Mr. Koljenović stated that this event marks the jubilee of Franco-German friendship, which was embodied in the signing of the Elysée Treaty. It presents also a result of the sincere cooperation between the two countries on reconciliation processes. “The Elysée Treaty is a successful model and story that provided inspiration for us the Western Balkans, when creating the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. Inclusion of youth in the reconciliation processes, and creation of new programs and opportunities for youth mobilization and development, is key to progress in the region”, he concluded.
H.E. Mr. Thimonier expressed great satisfaction that this important date is being celebrated together with young people from Montenegro – being a driving force of positive changes in their society. “The Elysée Treaty is the result of the strong will and enthusiasm of two societies which struggled to create a formal framework for cooperation, regardless of the serious wounds that both nations carried. The Western Balkans countries have a common goal and motivation, which is membership in the EU, and on that path, it is important to understand that we cannot progress working on our own. Working together will help us achieve our common goals”, highlighted Mr. Thimonier.
H.E. Mr. Felten encouraged young people to be engaged in the community, not to wait for future generations to create better opportunities or better environment, but to be bold and vocal. That is why it is important that RYCO exists as an organization that will open doors for young people and supports them in their ideas. “I am glad that RYCO embraces the spirit of the Franco-German Youth Office and creates a youth network that is ever influential and initiates changes in the Western Balkans”, stated Mr. Felten.
The second part of the event was devoted to screening of the Franco-German film “Frantz” (2016), directed by François Ozon, which caused enthusiasm, inspired young people and showed them the importance of maintaining peace, cultivating tolerance, overcoming and respecting difference, as well as the power of the most beautiful emotions transcending the nationalities.