The results of our comprehensive study on perceptions and values of youth in Southeast Europe served as a basis for a workshop entitled Youth and Euro-Atlantic Integrations of the Western Balkans and the Role of V4 – Preparing Policy Recommendations. Dr Miran Lavrič, one of the authors of the regional report, started off by highlighting the persisting high unemployment rate of youth, particularly when it comes to the region's non-EU countries. The results were discussed also from the perspective of Slovenia, one of the countries covered by this research, where for example lower youth employment goes hand in hand with higher precarity.
The findings presented focused on a range of socio-economic tendencies including the support for a welfare state and unemployment as a key driving factor for other concerns youth are facing. The participants also had the opportunity to discuss how the opinions of youth drive them to political extremes on both sides of the spectrum, and in turn make them susceptible to populism.
The presentation in this workshop also covered the pro-European attitudes and migration trends that are evident among youth. The key policy recommendations that were highlighted revolved around the improvement of employment possibilities, stimulation of mobility and circular migration, civic youth-to-youth engagement, and overall betterment of trust in public/political institutions.
As envisioned by the conference mission, youth are an essential element in active civil societies; therefore they need to be given opportunities to contribute in integration and cooperation, be the driving factor for spreading democratic values and leadership and have a voice on what topics are of particular importance to them.
For more policy recommendations and detailed findings, download the Youth Study 2018/2019 here.