WE NEED MORE: Youth policy in Western Balkans and Turkey: challenges and perspectives

Regional perspective of the youth policy within the Regional Youth Conference “Youth policy in Western Balkans and Turkey: challenges and perspectives” was held in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, 19th of November 2019.

The conference was organized by Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation within the Youth Banks Hub for Western Balkans and Turkey Network (YBH4WBT), which is supported by the European Commission, as part of its efforts towards continuous upgrading of relationship of public authorities with the youth.

The Conference was partner-supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia, Tempus Foundation and the National Youth Council of Serbia and will take place on 19th of November 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Regional Youth Conference will be dedicated to promoting development of youth policy in the Western Balkans and Turkey and presenting examples of good practice.

Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro have recorded slight upward trend in political participation, unlike Serbia where certain decrease can be observed from 2017 to 2018. The change was mostly influenced by the increase or decrease of the existence of youth networks (councils/parliaments/unions/offices) for youth participation at local levels and the development of on-line tools for information and participation in decision-making of municipalities.
North Macedonia has the highest score of the political participation of youth as a result of the existence of the youth structures in local levels in the majority of municipalities, as well as online tools in national and local levels.

When it comes to economic parameters, each country shows a different trend. Albania notes gradual decrease in the field of economic participation, unlike Serbia and Montenegro which note positive trend and gradual increase of economic participation. North Macedonia notes a slight decrease in 2017 and thereupon the increase in 2018 which is mainly the result of the lack of the state financial support to young people who started their own business during 2017.

Even though there is a downward trend in the unemployment rate of young people in North Macedonia in the observed period, it is still the highest in the region (37% in 2018), while the lowest is in Turkey (20.3% in 2018). The long-term unemployment rate has dropped slightly in the observed period in Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia but it is still very high.

Ana Divac, co-founder of Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation sad that cooperation of the young people in the region is extremely important because they can work together to improve the position of their generations.

Vanja Udovičić, Minister of Youth and Sports in the Government of Serbia stated that 15 000 different types of organizations for youth and invite young people for suggestions how to improve their positions.

Head of Section in the European Union Delegation to SRB, Steffen Hudolin said that unemployment stays one of the biggest problems and cause of so called “brain drain” and that this problem isn’t only present in Serbia.

This was an opportunity to draw attention to the positive effects of youth participation in the decision making process, as well as to discuss possibilities for improving youth support programs in this region and also an excellent opportunity to enhance cooperation between youth organizations in the region.

The Regional Youth Conference will gathered representatives from Ministries or national institutions in charge for the youth in Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey, relevant regional stakeholders, youth organizations, young leaders, experts and media from respective countries. This was the great opportunity discuss improvement of the position of young people and development of a legislative and institutional framework for the implementation of youth policy at the national level.