RYCO Youth Talk Sarajevo: Spotlight on Berlin Process and BiH achievement in opening negotiations with EU

As the Berlin Process is crucial platform for cooperation in the region, which ensures that aspirations of the Western Balkans towards EU remain at the forefront, so is establishment of RYCO as a tangible outcome of Berlin Process equally important, as it emphasizes commitment to the voice of youth – this is the joint message from the first RYCO Youth Talk of the year, organized on Monday, 25th of March, by RYCO LBO BiH in Sarajevo. 

Event under the theme “Road to the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Process”, which coincided with the recent opening of negotiations on Bosnia and Herzegovina joining the European Union, gathered together in Europe House Sarajevo diverse array of voices – from young leaders to ambassadors, governmental representatives, and NGOs to share their views on regional cooperation, with a particular focus on the European Union’s role in fostering stability and progress.

Moderated by Head of LBO BiH, Ms Sandra Čule, the event served as a platform for open dialogue that contributes to creating bridges between young people and decision-makers. A key highlight of the event was the discussion around the Berlin Process path, which started in 2014, and the efforts done by far in regards fostering regional cooperation and bringing together EU institutions, international financial bodies, civil society, youth representatives, and businesses within the region.

“The Berlin Process is crucial for the region, as it ensures that the aspirations of the Western Balkans for closer ties with the European Union remain at the forefront of our efforts, remarked Mr. Johann Sattler, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “It ensures that Today we know that the future of BiH is within the EU.  So today we celebrate, tomorrow the work must continue. We now know that extra steps can be taken and difficult topics will need to open. The process of the next phase, adopting the full body of rights and obligations of EU law is intense. Every step forward is one that will strengthen democracy, the rule of law, the business environment, the fight against corruption, the environment and so much more.” 

Participants emphasized that the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) is a big achievement of the Berlin Process, as it became a beacon of hope for youth empowerment and collaboration across the Western Balkans.

“The establishment of RYCO teaches us two simple but crucial lessons from history: first, how to move beyond the past; and second, how to learn from the experiences of others, like the successful French-German cooperation,” stated Mr. Nicolas Moll, independent researcher and historian. 

During the discussions, young participants highlighted challenges on the road to reconciliation and a brighter future, along with issues, such as current political dynamics, poverty, persisting stereotypes, and a lack of meaningful programs focused on youth policies and empowerment. Attendees also shared a common concern about the exclusion of minority voices and the need for higher youth participation in all processes, including the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

“It was a pleasure to hear today from young people what RYCO means to them, but also how much our programs are recognized by the international community. Our organization provides a platform for youth empowerment, dialogue, and collaboration across the Western Balkans. RYCO’s establishment underscores the commitment of the Berlin Process to fostering a region where the voices of the youth are heard. Young people should continue to be loud, advocate for their rights and bring a dose of optimism to all these processes,” concluded Head of LBO BiH, Sandra Čule. 


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