Connecting Western Balkan Youth in Sarajevo

SARAJEVO – The European Union recognizes the regional cooperation in the Western Balkans as one of the priorities in the region. In order to promote and improve cooperation possibilities and reconciliation between the young people in the region, the EU Info Center in Sarajevo, in cooperation with RYCO and Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized the panel discussion “Connecting Western Balkan Youth”

“Connectivity is not only building bridges, railways or highways, it is also an important task to bring the people together. It is the exactly what the Regional Youth Cooperation Office is doing. The European Union will continue to support the regional cooperation, improvement of mobility and connectivity of youth. In the end, the young people have a task – the young people of BiH and the region – to bring their countries in the EU and we expect a lot from them. We also have to ensure them tools for such endeavour, and RYCO is one of the ways in which we support them”, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Khaldoun Sinno said.

For the European Union, mobility, connectivity and regional cooperation are crucial for further growth and development, especially in the youth cooperation field. The regional cooperation fosters the EU enlargement process and it is of a key importance for the reform processes and sustainable economic growth of the Western Balkans.

RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša pointed out that RYCO is a result of cooperation between the governments of the region and civil society organizations. He said that RYCO is one of the reconciliation mechanisms in the region. “We are doing everything we can to bring the young people together, but also the societies and people of the region. We want to give an opportunity to the young people to learn from each other, overcome prejudices and stereotypes as they would cooperate, make new friendships and develop new ideas”, Mr Blanuša concluded.

Representative of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Adnan Husić said that there are six RYCO supported projects being implemented in BiH at the moment and expressed his hopes that there will be more of them in the future. He also thanked RYCO and its Secretary General, as well as the EU Delegation in BIH which in cooperation with the Ministry organized the conference.

Mr Husić said that he is hoping for fruitful meeting’s conclusions that will serve for improvement of RYCO’s work but also open new opportunities for youth in BiH to apply for projects in the context of regional connectivity. By doing this, he underlined, the youth of BiH should network with their peers from the region and thus contribute to BiH and the region as a whole.

The six projects supported by RYCO presented their activities and project ideas. Despite the fact that some of the projects are still being implemented, they achieved essential results in connecting the young people, the high school students at the first place, who were visiting their peers in the region, worked together on creative initiatives as well as created new conditions for improvement and further development of reconciliations prospects and strengthening common understanding of the young people in the Western Balkans.

Photo: EU Info Centre in BiH

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