Berlin Summit, Chair’s Conclusion: RYCO Is Key Driver of Cooperation, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding

WESTERN BALKANS/GERMANY – The Western Balkans Summit of the Berlin Process concluded with the Leaders’ Meeting on Monday, 5 July 2021. During the meeting, RYCO Secretary General Mr Albert Hani addressed the Western Balkan and European leaders, advocating for young people’s interest and a better region.

The Chair’s Conclusion is an official document of the Summit published by the German Federal Government. The document outlines the key points of the Summit. Its section “Youth and Youth-Related Policies” reads the following:

49.    Participants congratulated Mr Albert Hani on his recent appointment as the new Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) Secretary General.

50.    Participants reaffirmed their support for RYCO and emphasised the important role it plays in enhancing cooperation among young citizens in the region as a key driver of good neighbourly relations, cooperation, reconciliation and peacebuilding. They welcomed RYCO efforts to establish a regional School Exchange Scheme. By ensuring continuous support in this field, RYCO will open a new dimension of youth exchange that will further contribute to peacebuilding and reconciliation in the region.

51.    Participants underlined that reconciliation cannot be the task of RYCO alone, but that all governments must make increased efforts in this area by including representatives of civil society, media, educational institutions and other relevant stakeholders.

52.    Participants also welcomed the cooperation between RYCO and the Franco-German Youth Office that facilitates the embedding of regional dialogue on reconciliation and cooperation in the Western Balkans into a wider European context.

53.    Participants recognised the results of the Western Balkans Youth Forum 2021 and the Regional Youth Agenda developed by young people from the Western Balkans and the EU.

54.    Participants reiterated the importance of young people for the future of the Western Balkans and the need to take concrete measures to develop the region as a place of opportunities for young people to stay and live by increasing the intra-regional mobility of young citizens, taking decisive steps in the mutual recognition of academic degrees and professional qualifications, strengthening vocational education and training, supporting youth entrepreneurship and innovations, fostering digital transformation and making improvements in the field of sustainable development and environmental protection. The focus should be on investing in youth empowerment, strengthening youth organisations and networks their integration into European umbrella organisations, and stimulating volunteering and community work.

55.    Participants recognised the Western Balkan youth as the key force for promotion of European integration and stressed the need to involve this group to a greater extent in European processes such as the Conference on the Future of Europe.

To access the Western Balkans Summit Chair’s Conclusions, click here.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

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