WESTERN BALKANS – Online conference “Re-boot Europe!” brought together more thatn 100 young European from the Western Balkans, Croatia, Germany and France in the past five days, who have had the opportunity to discuss and express their views and proposals on Europe’s future, as well as dealing with the past, reconciliation, solidarity and climate change, Nova reports.
“Re-boot Europe!” conference was held at the same time as the European Council summit, at which a historic agreement was reached, marking a new phase of the European Union, and which to some extent answered the questions and proposals discussed by young Europeans in previous days.
During the final discussion, a joint Declaration of participants was presented with messages and recommendations from young people on the occasion of the German presidency of the EU Council, with special reference to dealing with the past, but also cooperation between countries in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.
The participants said that the EU member states, as well as the countries of the Western Balkans, must strongly support ideas, efforts and initiatives for more active cooperation between citizens and countries, as well as that we cannot forget basic values on which Europe is built – peace, democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. While respecting basic European values, the Declaration also states that young people should be more active in opposing autocratic and nationalist tendencies in societies and governments inside and outside the Union.
Young people also remind of the problem of migrants and refugees, with the message that the EU’s approach to this topic should be revised and a unified migrant policy should be adopted which will be visible in practice and which will be based on true solidarity instead of xenophobia. They point out that, especially in the Western Balkans region, more attention should be paid to brain drain and the creation of significantly more space for young people to participate in political, economic, cultural and every other segment of life.
At the closing ceremony, the French Ambassador to Germany, Anne-Marie Descôtes, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth, as well as the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Ditmir Bushati addressed the participants.
On the day the EU decided on a seven-year budget and a single aid package, Roth said young people’s commitment to co-operation and solidarity, as well as the conference’s recommendations, are an excellent opportunity to provide more space for the Western Balkans’ voice.
“Responsibility should not only be shown in schools and your communities, but also in political life. Without you (young people), everything makes much less sense,” Roth told the participants.
The “Re-boot Europe!” conference was organized from 16 to 21 July by OFAJ / DFJW (Franco-German Youth Office), Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Youth Initiative for Human Rights, and partner organizations from France and Germany with the support of of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.