The Regional Meeting “Exchange with RYCO” took place in Tirana on Thursday. The event organized by the GIZ ORF Promotion of EU Integration gathered representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs of the Western Balkans 6 and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. They discussed RYCO’s work and cooperation between the organization and institutional bodies.
While opening the event, Sector Fund Manager of GIZ ORF EUI Mr Filip Radunović highlighted the importance of such events for the regional cooperation and briefly presented the GIZ work in this regard.
General Director of Political and Strategic Issues of the Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Ms Mimoza Halimi pointed out that the young people are the most valuable asset of the region, underlining that the governments of the region should invest more in youth development. She added that the first RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals showed that the youth of the region want to cooperate.
“The six governments of the Western Balkans should invest more in RYCO’s activities since it plays an important role in enhancing youth mobility in the region,” Ms Halimi concluded.
RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša thanked the Albanian Government for the shown support and hosting the organization’s Head Office. He underlined that meetings as this one are opportunities to enhance communication between RYCO and the ministries of foreign affairs. There are two reasons for the communication enhancement, he said – the first is the fragility of the region and volatile surrounding that it creates while the second is the importance of recognizing each of the parties involved in discussions as equal partners.
“It is important that we come to the table and openly communicate our aspirations,” Mr Blanuša pointed out.
Head of Culture and Press Department of the German Embassy in Tirana Mr Enrico Günther said that RYCO represents a tangible result of the Berlin Process and successful story in the Western Balkans. He pointed out that the German and French Governments are supporting the organization in developing its capacities through the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ). He also underlined that RYCO’s activities are fostering the openness in the region which is contributing to better communication between the societies, but also discussions about the past and the future.
“Building bridges between the societies, not only between the politicians from the Western Balkans, is highly important for the region,” Mr Günther concluded.
The meeting continued with the presentation of RYCO’s work delivered by the organization’s Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General as well as the RYCO Local Branch Officers in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Macedonia and Montenegro who elaborated the activities on the respective national levels.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence