During the 2019 programming exercise for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II), the European Commission and IPA beneficiaries, in consultation with key actors in the Western Balkans, brought forward the proposal for the Western Balkan Youth Lab action. This action was adopted in July of this year, to offer a safe space for young people to participate and engage meaningfully in policy development, based on the principles of co-management and co-production.
Specifically, the goal of these policy labs is to facilitate youth participation in policymaking processes. The project will be implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council and supported by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, as well as other relevant organizations.
The workshop in Podgorica was structured in a round-table format, to define the concept and activities of the Western Balkans Youth Lab. Participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions on policymaking from both the youth practitioner and government perspectives. One point was the necessity of increased capacity-building as one area for cooperation on national and regional levels. The FES contributed to the discussion with 20 policy recommendations based on the results of the FES Youth Studies Southeast Europe 2018/2019 as well as numerous exchanges with youth representatives from the region.
The FES supports the activities of the RCC and RYCO to ensure that youth in the region have a voice in policy develeopment. For more information on the concerns, attitudes, and values of youth in Southeast Europe, please refer to the regional comparative report here.