RCC launches the first Western Balkans Youth Policy Lab tackling unemployment

RCC launches the first Western Balkans Youth Policy Lab tackling unemployment

TIRANA/SARAJEVO, December 14 (FENA) – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is to launch the first Thematic Regional Youth Policy Lab on Youth Employment aiming to stimulate dialogue among policy-makers and young people, to discuss main issues and agree on key regional recommendations to be implemented later on during the process, in an online two-day conference starting Monday.

More than 21% of the Western Balkans population are young people aged 18-24. One-quarter of them is not in education, employment or training. 51% of them worry most about employment, 59% believe that financial insecurity contributes to radicalization and violent extremism and an alarming 71% of young people would consider leaving the region and working abroad. Yet, 61% of Western Balkans’ young citizens agree that what brings the region together is more important than what separates it. Although WB companies are becoming open towards youth with 80% of them willing to hire an educated but inexperienced young person, there is still a lot of space for improvement. (Data from RCC’s Balkan Barometer annual survey)

The purpose of the Western Balkans Regional Youth Policy Lab is for young people and policy-makers to jointly develop and give recommendations, as well as to find real solutions for youth employability and participation.

The kick-off conference will gather 40 young people and policymakers, members of the Regional Pool of Experts from the Western Balkans covering youth and labor market issues as well as representatives of youth organizations, donor community, and media.

The event will be opened by Majlinda Bregu, Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council, and Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for Western Balkans at the European Commission’s DG Near, and moderated by Gevio Tabaku, Young European Ambassador.

More information could be found here https://www.rcc.int/events/1404/wbyl-kick-off-of-the-first-regional-thematic-youth-policy-lab.

Western Balkans Youth Lab (WBYL) is a three-year EU-funded and RCC-implemented project that kicked-off in January 2020 aiming to provide opportunities for youth to participate in the decision-making process. The project is covering Western Balkans Six economies in which youth constitutes 21.27% of the overall population and strives to create a longer-term structured regional dialogue between youth organizations and national administrations focused on jointly devising policies that will increase youth participation in decision-making to improve the overall socio-economic environment for and mobility of youth in the Western Balkan economies through different types of activities, stated the RCC.