RYCO and Quint Discuss Challenges Youth Are Facing in Western Balkans

ROME – RYCO Secretary General Mr Albert Hani had a working dinner with the Quint’s (Italy, Germany, France, United States and the United Kingdom) directors of the Western Balkans departments and the representatives of the European Union in which they discussed challenges that young people are facing in the Western Balkans and ways for overcoming them.

Upon the invitation of Director for the Western Balkans at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Andrea Cascone, the RYCO Secretary General used this opportunity to convey a message for a necessity to additionally increase the support to youth in the region, especially during the time of war in Ukraine in which youth are at a higher risk of being manipulated by different political actors.

“We have been afraid of seeing our youth leaving the region. Now, we express concerns for them being indoctrinated by war interests. Their hopes are characterized by seeing the region integrated in the EU. Politicians, as well as the international community, have a duty to nurture this hope. As the youth is paving the road to political cooperation among the leaders in the Western Balkans, there is a need for an increased support and understanding for youth also by our politicians from the region. This support and understanding have to be extremely sensitive and responsive to young people’s needs, especially during this particular period of time we are living in,” Mr Hani pointed out.

The Quint’s and EU’s representatives, among which were Mr Gabriel Escobar, Ms Michaela Matuella, Mr Andrea Cascone, Mr Frédéric Mandolini, Ms Susanne Schütz, Mr Andrew Page, Mr Javier Colomina, and Mr Marko Makivec, were interested to know more about the challenges the Western Balkan youth are facing and the ways how RYCO supports young people in this regard. They also expressed their willingness and readiness to support RYCO in various fields of actions such as brain-drain, digitalization, entrepreneurship, hate speech, peace and security, dealing with the past, diaspora, etc. Building upon existing good practices and by creating new approaches for supporting young leaders were considered as core directions for RYCO to play an important role in the region.

On the other hand, RYCO representatives had another meeting with the Italian MFA and CEI in which they jointly explored possibilities for cooperating on the topics related to youth entrepreneurship, business acceleration as well as credit lines for young entrepreneurs’ ideas.

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