BERLIN – Both the RYCO Secretariat and Governing Board attended a working visit to Berlin from November 23 to 26. The high-level meetings were mainly focused on Shaping and Strengthening Regional Cooperation among Young Citizens of the Western Balkans in Challenging Times. All contracting parties of Western Balkan were represented both by the government as well as youth, either in person or virtually.
The agenda was packed with different sessions and workshops, aiming to discuss the role of the German and French Governments in supporting RYCO, youth cooperation, and regional cooperation in general.
The second day started on the premises of the Federal Foreign Office where participants had the chance to exchange with Ambassador Susanne Schütz, Director for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA States Western Balkans Dr. Frédéric Jörgens as well as with the Special Envoy Manuel Sarrazin, on RYCO’s planned milestones and goals. Ambassador Schütz emphasized the importance of RYCO as an organization and the next steps to be taken to ensure its functioning. The itinerary of the visit continued on the premises of the Franco-German Youth Office where both Secretary Generals, Anne Tallineau and Tobias Bütow presented the functioning and cooperation of the Governing Board and Advisory Board of the institution. They encouraged the GB and Secretariat to make use of the Advisory Board, to help make decisions about the best path forward.
On the agenda of the visit, it was also planned a meeting with the German Federal Youth Council Jochen Rummenhöller, Head of the Department of International and European Youth Policy. He provided concrete insights into the functioning of the organization and the mobility opportunity offered as well as its advocacy work for safeguarding quality youth work. Afterward, an internal workshop was conducted for GB members to exchange their joint work and show ways how to further improve their cooperation, and lastly, present the results of the Superschools project.
In the welcoming speech of the RYCO Secretary General, Mr. Albert Hani highlighted once more the importance of cooperation between the organization and the German and French governments. He also briefly updated the delegation on RYCO’s ongoing activities, projects, and challenges. The visit was an opportunity for the RYCO Secretariat and Governing Board to discuss the future steps and actions needed to be undertaken within the region in cooperation with other stakeholders in order to enhance the idea of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.
The visit was organized by the crossborder factory and OFAJ with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office as well as the “Western Balkans Schools Exchange Scheme” project co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO)