BERLIN – RYCO Secretariat is on a study visit in Berlin with an aim to meet a number of stakeholders, decision-makers from Germany, representatives of international organizations and experts in order to get more information on practices, experiences and challenges on organizing intercultural youth work. On Tuesday RYCO Secretariat met in separate meetings with Dr. Markus Ingenlath, Secretary General of the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ/DFJW), Mr Michael Roth, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe and Mr Christian Hellbach, Special Emissary of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs for South East Europe, Turkey and the EFTA Countries when we discussed ongoing processes and challenges in RYCO’s work and it is concluded that these German partners will continue their support to RYCO.
In the meeting at the premises of the Franco-German Youth Office, Mr Ingenlath said that RYCO is a result of common efforts of the governments from the Western Balkans and its civil societies. He highlighted the importance of new initiatives in the field of youth exchanges, especially those which are coming from the region and said that it is important to bring the topic of youth who never travelled in the focus.
“We want to support the diplomatic initiatives which work on youth exchanges in the Western Balkans and we are convinced that cooperation between RYCO and OFAJ/DFJW is important for exchange of ideas and knowledge”, said OFAJ/DFJW Secretary General.
RYCO Secretary General Mr Blanuša briefed the participants of the event on the ongoing processes in RYCO’s work and highlighted the RYCO priorities in the previous and forthcoming period among which were the first RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, development of the internal procedures and strategic planning. He also pointed out that the youth sector of the Western Balkans can absorb far more funding than RYCO has at its disposal at the moment.
In the separate meeting, Mr Roth said that the Western Balkans will not progress without cooperation and reconciliation and highlighted that RYCO will be supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in its efforts to bring the region closer as RYCO is not only important for the region, but it is important for the European Union and Germany as well.
He said that after RYCO is founded as the regional initiative, there is now a chance to bring the youth of the Western Balkans together which is a precondition to develop it further as the economic situation in the region is not good, especially among youth which records tremendously high unemployment rate. Mr Roth also highlighted that without support of younger generations it is not possible to bring reforms to the region and make it a part of the EU. The German Minister said that RYCO’s existence is not sufficient for such changes and because of this reason his government will continue to support the region on its way towards the EU. He concluded that, when it comes to the expectations from RYCO’s work, it is obvious that the current funding is not enough and that the region and the EU should financially contribute more to it.
Moreover, RYCO staff had a working lunch with Mr Christian Hellbach who was updated with the key figures of the first RYCO Open Call and who had a fruitful discussion with the members of RYCO team on the current political situation in the region and the EU.
Photo: Auswaertiges Amt/Sven Proese