TIRANA/BRUSSELS – The European Union has awarded €500.000 for a new two-year Regional Youth Cooperation Office’s (RYCO) project, which will enhance youth mobility, youth cooperation and youth activism in the Western Balkans thereby supporting the process of reconciliation in the region.
The project activities will contribute to increasing levels of youth participation, but also raising awareness of young people about opportunities for youth cooperation across the region, and to strengthening capacities of the CSOs in the Western Balkans for the implementation of regional youth projects.
The project will further support RYCO in the implementation of its Strategic Plan 2019-2021 by grouping its efforts to promote and achieve opportunities for young people to engage in regional activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural and sport sectors.
On youth support
Over the years, the EU has invested considerable efforts to support youth exchanges in the region. In this context, youth organizations and schools from the Western Balkans have been cooperating closely enabling mobility and intercultural learning in the region. Furthermore the region has profited from various EU-flagships initiatives and programmes such as Erasmus+ or Cross-Border Cooperation, as well as from other EU financial instruments aiming at encouraging youth exchanges directly or indirectly.
Moreover, Western Balkans national authorities and civil society organisations have cooperated on numerous initiatives related to human rights, peace building, conflict resolution, sustainable development, youth exchanges, etc.; however, until recently, the principal opportunity for mobility and youth exchanges focused on young people visiting countries beyond the Western Balkans. Cross-border youth mobility was also welcome; however, these various mobility opportunities were not structured. The newly supported project aims to contribute to addressing these issues and bridging this gap.