PRISTINA – RYCO Local Branch Office in Kosovo was opened in Pristina today. The opening ceremony, which took place at the Students’ Center of the University of Pristina, was attended by a number of guests among which were the representatives of the diplomatic corps, Government of Kosovo, civil society and international organizations as well as youth representatives.
RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša, RYCO Local Branch Officer in Kosovo Ms Krenare Gashi, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr Enver Hohxaj, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and Representative of Kosovo Government in RYCO Governing Board Mr Kujtim Gashi, Youth Representative from Kosovo in RYCO Governing Board Mr Arianit Jashari, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kosovo Mr Christian Heldt, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in Kosovo Mr Gernot Pfandler, Head of Cooperation’s at the EU Office in Kosovo Mr Luigi Brusa and Head of the Office for Political Affairs of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo Mr Senad Sabović addressed the guest.
Mr Blanušа used the opportunity to announce that the first RYCO Open Call will be launched next week and expressed his hopes that this call and all the other activities of RYCO will send a strong message that the region can and must work together.
“I am sure that the local office in Pristina will be a place where young people will initiate dialogue, break stereotypes and prejudices, talk about a common European future, discuss their everyday problems and start solving them”, RYCO Secretary General pointed out. He also thanked respectively to Government of Kosovo, as well as to all WB6 governments and the EU which committed themselves to financially support the work of RYCO.
RYCO Local Branch Officer in Kosovo Ms Krenare Gashi pointed out that the office in Pristina will be a linking bridge between the youth of the region. She stressed that RYCO aims to make its work transparent and closer to the youth and said that RYCO as yesterday’s idea, today’s reality will become a tomorrow’s inspiration of the youth not only in Kosovo but in all the RYCO Contracting Parties.
By assuring RYCO and its guests at the opening ceremony that Government of Kosovo will always support RYCO Head Office and Local Branch Office in Pristina, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr Enver Hohxaj, said that he hopes that RYCO will contribute to the regional reconciliation. He added that, besides the political reconciliation, he wants to see the social dialogue between the youth of the region, especially between those coming from Kosovo and Serbia.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and Representative of Kosovo Government in RYCO Governing Board Mr Kujtim Gashi said that he is aware that RYCO will not provide solutions to all the challenges and problems youngsters of the Western Balkans are facing every day, but he expressed his hopes that the Pristina Office will be a place where young people will address numerous problems and significant issues for them and their future.
“The high unemployment rate and the visa problem are the biggest challenges which are faced by the youth of Kosovo”, Youth Representative from Kosovo in RYCO Governing Board Mr Arianit Jashari said at the ceremony. He said that youth of the region should be an engine for change and the EU integration of the region and that they should build a better future together.
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kosovo Mr Christian Heldt pointed that youth cooperation is a challenge but also a chance for the region. He said that France and Germany together created the Franco-German Youth Office and because of that fact the two countries have a special obligation to help RYCO to fulfil its mission.
On the other hand, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in Kosovo Mr Gernot Pfandler recapitulated the process of RYCO establishment and pointed out Austrian role in it and added that RYCO Office in Pristina will be a place where youth will meet, talk and build better understanding between each other.
“This is an opportunity to meet different people and thus give a better perspective to the region”, Head of Cooperation’s at the EU Office in Kosovo Mr Luigi Brusa said during the opening of the office. He said that all the relevant stakeholders should encourage all the possible ways of youth exchanges and added that the EU will make sure that RYCO is a part of all relevant youth initiatives in the region created by it.
Head of the Office for Political Affairs of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo Mr Senad Sabović said that the people aged between 14 and 25 are a big part of the society in Kosovo and because of that fact RYCO is important for Kosovo and for the whole region. He added that OSCE is happy to help such institution which is helping youth to understand their rights and their obligations and stressed that OSCE will continue to support RYCO in the forthcoming period.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence