BELGRADE – The Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) is in the implementation phase and therefore there is space and great potential for issues important to young people in the region to be included in the EIP, the panel concluded online “Which institutions guarantee young people” organized by the National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS), within the Connecting Youth platform.
KOMS is part of Connecting Youth Platform, established in 2017 to promote youth connectivity in the region. It is the only initiative of its kind that functions as a methodical tool to promote cooperation and dialogue among young people as a means for a resilient and diverse region.
This year, KOMS, together with regional youth umbrella organizations and the Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI) of Albania, created a position paper “What’s in the WB6’s economic and investment plan for young people?, where the problems and opportunities of the youth sector were mapped. This document reveals that young people and youth organizations are not sufficiently informed about the benefits of the MYP for young people.
Mina Dobrijevićfinancial coordinator of KOMS, explained that youth unemployment is a major problem in all Western Balkan economies and that, according to some surveys, the fact that the transition from the education system to the labor market takes up to two years is worrying .
She explained that the Youth Guarantee program was very successful in EU member states and therefore it was decided to extend this system to the Western Balkan countries.
“The Youth Guarantee is a program, that is, a political obligation of the state to offer young people internships and jobs that will shorten the transition from education to the labor market. Since 2013, the Youth Guarantee has been implemented in the EU, and has been shown to help reduce youth unemployment. As for the Western Balkans, only North Macedonia has experience in implementing the Youth Guarantee,” Dobrijević said.
She announced that the Youth Employment Strategy in Serbia for the period 2021-2026 and the Action Plan following it recognize the Youth Guarantee, and that several pilot projects are planned for its implementation.
Gresa Smolicaproject manager at the CDI, stressed the importance of including youth issues in the PEI, in addition to the major infrastructure and digital projects involved in the Economic and Investment Plan.
“The EIP is a major EU investment program for the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery from the crisis. This plan offers many opportunities for young people, such as the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, many flagship projects… Young people in the region do not have much knowledge about these opportunities,” said Smolica.
She added that this is why Connecting Youth Platform strives to promote and defend the youth perspective in the economic and investment plan.
“The IEP is still in the implementation and planning phase, so now is the right time to promote and advocate for what needs to be included in this plan as it relates to youth,” Smolica said.
She explained that the aim of the work of youth umbrella organizations within the Connecting Youth Platform is to connect young people in the region and strengthen the work of their organisations.
Speaking about the position of young people in Albania, Smolica said that a new youth strategy is being developed, which will aim to ensure the position of young people through cross-sectoral cooperation.