London Summit: Young People Region’s Biggest Asset

LONDON – The fifth Berlin Process Summit was held on 9-10 July in London, the United Kingdom. The Summit gathered the heads and ministers of the governments of the Western Balkans, as well as the EU Member States interested in the region. Moreover, the Summit was participated by representatives of the region’s civil society, regional organization and young people.

The Chair’s Conclusions of the Heads’ meeting of the London Western Balkans Summit welcomed the role young people and civil society had played in shaping the London Summit and strongly agreed that young people are the region’s biggest asset. They also agreed that more needed to be done to harness the potential of the young people. Moreover, they remained concerned about the high levels of brain drain and youth unemployment in the region.

They also welcomed the important work of the RYCO in promoting reconciliation and increasing regional cooperation between young people and reaffirmed their support to RYCO and the need to underpin RYCO’s engagement with sufficient resources in order to realize its full potential.

RYCO was present at the Summit and had an important role throughout the two-day long event. We used a number of panel discussions and high-level political meetings to ensure additional support for youth in the Western Balkans.

The six Youth Representatives in the RYCO Governing Board, one from each of the RYCO Contracting Parties, participated the Civil Society and Youth Forum with an aim to advocate for more youth engagement in decision-making processes in the Western Balkans and to assure continuous support for our work.

Youth Representative of Montenegro in the Governing Board Mr Dimitrije Jovićević took part in the Question Time Session with the region’s Foreign Ministers and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy on Improving prospects for young people in the Western Balkans. Mr Jovićević underlined that it is not possible to create policies for young people without them and pointed out that it will simply not work.

On the other hand, RYCO Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, Mr Đuro Blanuša and Mr Fatos Mustafa, presented the results of our organization since the Trieste Summit at the Foreign Minister’s Meeting where the strong support was reassured. Moreover, Mr Blanuša took part in the Leaders’ Summit hosted by the UK Prime Minister where he made a strong case for RYCO.

The Summit ended with a reception hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales where the RYCO officials and Youth Representatives in the RYCO Governing Board took place together with Foreign Ministers and Heads of the Governments participating in the Berlin Process. He addressed the audience by saying that he firmly believes that in the Western Balkans, just as on the island of Ireland, only meaningful reconciliation offers the assurance that our children and grandchildren will not endure the same agonies as the generations before them, but can instead enjoy prosperity and security.


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