10th International Youth Forum and Conference


The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), Central European Service for Cross-border Initiatives Balkans (CESCI Balkans), The Institute of International Sociology of Gorizia (ISIG) and CESCI (Hungary) organized the 10th International Youth Forum in Tivat between 30-31 May. The event, financed by Danube Strategic Project Fund within the framework of the SECCo2 project was attended by 120 participants from all over the Danube and Adriatic Ionian macro-regions.

AEBR Youth Forums were initiated with the goal to empower young people to be able to make positive changes across the borders. So far, AEBR through its Task Force for External Borders has already organised nine Youth Forums with panel discussions, seminars, round tables, workshops and study trips dedicated to various aspects of cross-border cooperation attended by young participants from all over Europe. Most of the alumni of these events are now CBC activists in their border regions. As a result of networking of these young people and the coordination efforts taken by the AEBR Info Centre in the Balkans, a Network of Young Leaders for Cross-border Cooperation (AEBR YLCBC) was established at the VII AEBR Youth Forum in 2015. AEBR YLCBC organized several panel discussions and workshops in 2016 and 2017 and by the end of 2017 finalized the AEBR Youth Charter for Cross-Border Cooperation. The 10th Youth Forum aimed at elaborating the Action Plan for the implementation of the Youth Charter for CBC.

At the beginning of the Forum Marko Petričević, Municipality Manager of Tivat, Montenegro and Tatjana Bošković from the Ministry of European Affairs of Montenegro welcomed the participants expressing their pleasure for hosting the event and officially opened the professional discussion. Alfonzo Zardi, Head of Democratic Institutions and Governance Department of the Council of Europe who was not able to attend the meeting, told about the importance of such forums and cross-border cooperation in his video message.

Tivat1The first plenary session chaired by Mr Johannes Moisio Chairman of AEBR Task Force of External Borders concerned the macro-regional frames of cooperation. Csaba Hende, Programme manager from the DG REGIO introduced the concept, history and special features of the European macro-regional strategies through the example of the EUSDR. He highlighted the fact that the establishment of these structures have been initiated bottom_up by the Member States. Then Martin Marek from the office of EuroVienna, in substitution for Mr Rudolf Schiecker, Coordinator of PA10 of the EUSDR presented the EUSDR briefly and gave an overview on the tools available for stakeholders to launch and manage their own initiatives including the Danube Strategic Project Fund, the Euro-Access portal as financial, in addition ReSTI as management instruments. He was followed by Mátyás Jaschitz, director of planning of CESCI who talked about cross-border cooperation in the Danube Region. When emphasizing the relevance of cross-border cooperation, he drew the attention to the fact that more than 42% of the territory of the region is located up to 25 km to at least one state border and one third of the population lives within these border areas. Last but not least Tatjana Bošković introduced briefly the EU Strategy for Adriatic-Ionian Macro-region.

Following the coffee break, the second plenary session was dedicated to cross-border cooperation. Ervin Erős, as chair of the session told about the evolution of CBC and mentioned his experiences from the Balkans. Following his introduction to the topic Daniele de Bianco, director of ISIG presented the result of their research on civic participation in CBC. He highlighted the importance of the twofold approach including the willingness and possibility to participation of citizens as a way of joint work for the public good. Then Johannes Moisio told about cross-border cooperation on external borders mentioning not only the case in the Balkans but the Eastern Partnership and Russia as well. The next speaker was Stefano Ceretta Deputy Mayor of Gorizia as member of the Italian-Slovene EGTC GO. He presented the EGTC itself and its projects with a special focus on the ITI and the youth initiatives. Following him Edin Koljenovic from Regional Youth Cooperation Office introduced the activities of the organization targeting six Western Balkan countries. Referring to the introduction of the chair, he told that the recent level of youth cooperation facilitated by the Office goes beyond the informal level of cooperation.

After the lunch the workshop sessions of the forum were kicked off. As introduction, Tivat2 Alessandra Cardaci from AEBR presented the Interreg Youth Volunteer initiative of the EU, then Vera Hark, researcher of the Region Aachen told about their cross-border school partnerships as best practices from the Meuse-Rhine area. Following the speeches, two workshop sessions were organized with the leadership of Ana Nikolov from AEBR with the active involvement of the participants. They worked in smaller groups on the Action Plan for the Youth Charter of CBC. The sessions were structured around the role of youth in different types of cooperation (transnational, macro-regional, cross-border) and the tools for involving the next generation therein. At the end of each workshop session the leaders of the groups presented the main conclusions which will be published soon.

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