BERLIN –The conference “Strengthening Regional Parliamentary Cooperation in Support for RYCO and Parliaments’ Engagement in the Berlin Process and Beyond” was organized on 20-21 May in Berlin. The event gathered members of parliaments (MPs) from the Western Balkans, France and Germany who discussed their role in supporting RYCO, youth cooperation and regional cooperation in general. Moreover, twelve young people from the region jointly worked with the MPs throughout the conference in this regard.
The current RYCO Governing Board Chair and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Kosovo* Mr Kujtim Gashi opened the conference by addressing the need of investing more in young people of the region. He invited the MPs to support RYCO more in the region in order to enable it to effectively function in such a sensitive environment as it is now in the Western Balkans. He also encouraged the young people to be more demanding and persistent towards decision-makers to make the Western Balkans a better region to live in.
RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša outlined the need for a bigger MPs’ political support for the organization. The role of MPs was considered as crucial for RYCO to truly foster regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.
The MPs had the chance to exchange perspectives on the topic of regional cooperation, Berlin Process and EU integration perspectives with representatives of ministries of foreign affairs of France and Germany as well as the German Chancellery.
The French and German parliamentarians who attended the conference expressed their willingness to fully support their colleagues in the Western Balkans, RYCO and regional cooperation. They also agreed to sign a declaration which was initiated by the Western Balkans MPs in Tirana last year.
The conference was organized by the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ) and Aspen Institute Germany, with the support of and in cooperation with RYCO, German Federal Foreign Office, Youth Initiative for Human Rights and the crossborder factory.
*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