Vucko Regional Conference: Jahorina

From 4th to 8th of September, Jahorina, one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Olympic mountains, gathered Members of Parliament from both the European Union and the Western Balkan countries as well as experts and youngsters from across the region and beyond.

For eight years, this regional conference format has brought together innovative youth and decision-makers to debate the current situation in the Western Balkans and prospects for the future.

For this year, the participants looked at the topic of EU Enlargement and prospects for membership of non-EU countries in Southeast Europe under the title "The European Project in the Western Balkans". Looking from the perspective of the Western Balkans, the strong support to EU accession seems to be declining.

However, according to results of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's regional comparative report on aspirations and attitudes of young people, youth in Southeast Europe are overwhelmingly pro-European. At the same time, youngsters from the EU Member States in the region are less likely to emigrate permanently, and employment in these countries is higher as well. One of the authors of the regional report, Mirna Jusic, shared these and more insightful findings with the participants of the Vucko Regional Conference during the panel "Who are the agents for change – youth? ".

Gazela Pudar Draško (University of Belgrade) commented on the study and said that it provided a rarely-found, bigger picture to the situation of youth in Southeast Europe. Delara Burkhardt (Member of the European Parliament) and Aleksanra Tomanic (Director, European Fund for the Balkans) also shared their positive impressions on the Youth Study.

Ms Pudar Drasko, a renowned researcher herself, says she was appalled by the fact that young people are satisfied with their lives in WB in high numbers. She also points to the "privatization of lives", which had taken over completely and consequently led to youngsters thinking and reacting only to their immediate surroundings, their family and friends. This narrow circle of trust, in turn, made them feel satisfied in spite of quite challenging social context. Ms Pudar Drasko concluded that as a solution, the emphasis should be put on quality education and critical thinking, both of which are declining in most of the countries according to the study's findings.

The regional Vucko conference once again showcased the potential and importance of addressing pressing issues with the inputs and bright ideas of youth in Southeast Europe.

The full youth study is available online.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541

info(at)fes-soe.org

Publications

Political Trends and Dynamics: Chinese Soft Power in Southeast Europe

China has “arrived” in Southeast Europe. Beijing’s assertive new foreign policy, the hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s six year reign as the...

Read more

Irregular migration and smuggling of migrants along the Balkan route 2011-2017

The research report identifies, documents and analyses patterns and characteristics of irregular migration in thirteen states along the so-called...

Read more

European Cohesion: Progress at a Snail's Pace

Both Europe-wide inequality and the at-risk-of-poverty rate again fell slightly from 2016 to 2017. This was largely due to the strong growth in the...

Read more