Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Series
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Source: Regional Youth Cooperation Office

Democracies of SEE Unsuccessful in Integrating Youth in Fabric of Their Societies

27.03.2018

On the occasion of the Western Balkans Youth Conference “Active Citizens” that will be held in Prishtina on 26-27 March 2018, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) would like to draw your attention to the findings of youth surveys conducted by the FES throughout the Southeast Europe region between 2011 and 2015. The results point to troubling trends in young people’s perceptions of their wider social, economic, and political contexts.

The study lays bare the need to invest in the education, future prospects, and political engagement of youth, which syncs with both the FES’ and RYCO’s commitment to re-energize youth activism and representation in the region. If the societies of Southeast Europe are to stem mass emigration and the region is to prosper as a whole, there is a need for a substantial paradigm shift in the policies and instruments deployed towards youth in different areas of life.

Specifically, the new democracies of SEE seem to have been unsuccessful in integrating young people in the fabric of their societies. Educational systems do not appear to provide the skills and competences needed by the market. Young people’s employment prospects are bleak. There is a worrisome level of disillusionment with politics. Youth generally display low social trust and pronounced social distance. Due to difficult socio-economic conditions, many young people express a desire to emigrate, especially in the countries that are not members of the European Union. Meanwhile, the EU accession process has proven lengthy and challenging, which has led to flagging enthusiasm about the prospect of membership.

A summary of the key findings and recommendations can be accessed here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/14217.pdf

The full results are available here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/13780.pdf

The FES is currently conducting a new series of youth surveys, the results of which are expected to be published by the end of the year.