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European Western Balkans
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Economic and Investment Plan is opportunity for implementation of Youth Guarantee in the Western Balkans

Youth; Photo: Pixabay

BELGRADE – The Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) is in the implementation phase and therefore there is space and great potential for issues that are important for young people in the region to be included in the EIP,  it was concluded the online panel “What institutions guarantee young people” organized by the National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS), within the Connecting Youth platform.

KOMS is part of Connecting Youth Platform, established in 2017 to promote youth connectivity in the region. It is the only initiative of its kind that works as a methodical tool to promote cooperation and dialogue between youth as means for a resilient and diverse region.

This year, KOMS with regional youth umbrella organizations and Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI) from Albania created a position paper “What’s in for youth in the Economic and Investment Plan for the WB6″, where the problems and possibilities of the youth sector were mapped. This paper reveals that young people and youth organizations are insufficiently informed about the benefits of the EIP for the youth.

Mina Dobrijević, a financial coordinator of KOMS, explained that youth unemployment is a big problem in all economies of the Western Balkans, and according to some surveys, the fact that the transition from the educational system to the labor market lasts up to two years is worrying.

She explained that the Youth Guarantee program was extremely successful in the EU member states, so it was decided to extend this system to the countries of the Western Balkans.

“The Youth Guarantee is a scheme, i.e. political obligation of the state to provide youth internships and jobs that will shorten the transition from education to labor markets. Since 2013, Youth Guarantee have been implemented in the EU, and it has been shown that this has contributed to reducing youth unemployment. When it comes to the Western Balkans, only North Macedonia has experience with the implementation of the Youth Guarantee”, Dobrijević said.

She announced that the Strategy for Youth Employment in Serbia for the period 2021-2026 and the Action Plan that follow it recognize youth guarantee, as well as that several pilot projects are planned for its implementation.

Gresa Smolica, project manager at CDI, stressed the importance of youth issues being included in the EIP, in addition to the major infrastructure and digital projects involved in the Economic and Investment Plan.

“The EIP is a major investment program coming from the EU for the post-COVID-19 recovery of the region after the crisis. This plan offers many opportunities for young people, such as the implementation of Youth Guarantee, many flagship projects… Youth from the region do not have much knowledge about these opportunities”, said Smolica.

She added that is why Connecting Youth Platform is dealing with promote and advocate the youth perspective within the Economic and Investement Plan.

“The EIP is still in the implementation and planning phase, so this is the right time when we can promote and advocate what needs to be included in this Plan when it comes to young people”, said Smolica.

She explained that the goal of the work of umbrella youth organizations within the Connecting Youth Platform is to connect young people in the region and strengthen the work of their organizations.

Speaking about the position of young people in Albania, Smolica said that a new youth strategy is being developed, which will aim to provide the position of youth through cross-sectoral cooperation.

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