SARAJEVO, April 30 (FENA) – Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Majlinda Bregu, wrote in an article on the occasion of May 1, International Labor Day, that around a quarter of youth in the Western Balkans are NEETs – neither in employment, education or training.
Moreover, out of the total registered unemployed at the end of February 2021, 173,031 are young people, under 24 years, which is more than 12% of all registered unemployed.
“We all like to think of 1st of May – the Labour Day as an important holiday marking labour rights but also a fun day to enjoy outdoors, and all hoped last year that it will return in its full glory soon. However, this is the 2nd year in a row that we mark 1st May under completely unusual circumstances, dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic. And who knows, have we seen it all,” said Bregu.
She stated that in Western Balkans many people just like in the rest of the world have spent the past year or so figuring out how to protect both their jobs and lives.
“Before COVID-19 crisis, labour markets1 in the Balkans were already characterised by relatively high unemployment rates, especially when compared to the EU; high inactivity; low levels of employment with a significant share of temporary contracts and informal employment. Also, one of the distinctive characteristics of the unemployment in our region was a large share of long- term unemployment. And this is how the corona virus struck us,” Bregu wrote.
At the end of February 2021, the total registered stock of unemployed, cumulative in WB 6 economies stood at over 1.4 million citizens, compared to February 2020, when this figure was some 1.24 million citizens.
“Given obvious need to act, we should aim high – for the Youth Guarantee in the WB. Youth Guarantee means opportunities for employment, education, training or apprenticeship for young people. Specifically, in the Western Balkans, RCC ESAP 2 project has developed a comprehensive analytical study on Youth Employment in six Western Balkan economies, with 6 individual policy roadmaps; this report and six policy roadmaps were shared with WB 6 governments recently. We at the RCC are ready to support our government partners to have the Youth Guarantee for our region and other youth programmes, generating more and better job opportunities for young people,” stressed Majlinda Bregu, RCC announced.