PODGORICA – Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović and Youth Representative of Montenegro in the RYCO Governing Board Ms Andrea Mićanović met with the First Counsellor of the French Embassy and the Director of the French Institute in Montenegro Mr Laurent Goncalves and international expert of the European integration office Ms Isabelle Thomas Delic on Friday, 21 January. The meeting took place at the premises of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Podgorica and discussed further cooperation with the Embassy of France in Montenegro in the light of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2022.
Mr Koljenović took this opportunity to present the main achievements and planned activities of RYCO for the upcoming period. He underlined that in the past few years, RYCO managed to achieve many tangible results among which it was especially successful in establishing connections with all relevant actors dealing with youth. This approach let to direct engagement of more than 10 000 youth from most diverse groups, and especially these belonging to marginalized communities, as well as to engagement of youth workers, experts in charge of securing the quality of the exchanges.
Moreover, the Local Branch Office in Montenegro was devoted to building and cherishing strong partnerships with important national and international stakeholders at the local level, such as the one with the French Embassy. Bright examples of this approach were the Intercultural Youth Hubs, the Balkan Academy of Music, and youth camps on “Intercultural Competencies in Sports” which took place in Pljevlja, Gusinje, Koljašin, Podgorica, Bar.
“RYCO’s achievements are also achievements of our partners, such as the Embassy of French Republic, that from the very establishment of the Local Branch Office in Montenegro supported local activities. They provided young people from Montenegro with a chance to meet and exchange, and establish connections based on the shared values of tolerance, solidarity which are basis of stabile and democratic societies,” Mr Koljenovic stated.
In continuation, Mr Goncalves and Ms Thomas Delic reaffirmed strong support of the French Embassy for RYCO since it presents the counterpart of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) in the Western Balkans, providing strong support to young people from the region, to help build and strengthen the bridges of cooperation, all for the sake of progress in the region. They also expressed their readiness to strengthen the presence of French institutions in Montenegro, especially in light of the French presidency over the Council of the EU in 2022.
The meeting concluded with remarks that this fruitful cooperation will continue through the realization of more concrete activities that will involve youth from different parts of Montenegro belonging to diverse groups, and provide them with the space to get to know each other and to discuss the topics of EU integration processes.