Western Balkans Fund (WBF) and Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed the Memorandum of Understanding today in order to enhance already very good relations between these two organizations. The ceremony took place in the WBF premises in Tirana, in the presence of high officials from the ministries of foreign affairs of the Western Balkans 6, European diplomats, representatives of civil society organizations and media.
Signing the document is an important political regional development with practical benefits for these organizations, as they both represent the goodwill of the WB6 for a better and prosperous region. Moreover, the agreement is a clear message given to potential partners and donors in the Western Balkans, Europe and beyond, for joint activities and cooperation in the future.
Statement of Mr. Gjergj Murra, Executive Director of the WBF:
“Through this Memoranda of Understanding, WBF and RYCO are committing to explore modalities to facilitate the communication between the organizations by designating permanent points of contacts and by organizing regular meetings and joint events. Also, the signing of this document aims the harmonization of the efforts of our two Organizations as regards strategic priorities, setting up of common approaches related to mutual promotion among European Union institutions and WB6, and increasing of our staffs’ capacities through mutual trainings. This momentum constitutes a very important regional political development. Today WBF and RYCO are signing a document that opens the way and sets forth a framework for joint actions and activities in the future.”
Statement of Mr. Djuro Blanuša, Secretary General of RYCO:
“It is important to highlight the number of applications which we received for our open calls. The high number of applicants and partners that joined their forces in the region is a clear sign that the region wants and needs to cooperate. Because of that, it is important for our two organizations to join forces and take the best out in the interest of the region. I want to use this opportunity to thank all our governments and partners for supporting us in fulfilling our missions, but I want to highlight that this support is important but not sufficient. The better region can be achieved only if the governments show this support in the all other fields, too, but also if they provide more resources for our work as the sectors whit which we are directly working can absorb far more funding. “
WBF and RYCO recently announced their first respective calls for regional project proposals in their fields. The calls faced a very high interest from the civil society organizations and high schools in the Western Balkans.
The creation of the Western Balkans Fund is considered an important political decision and also, a significant positive mark of the new cooperation spirit taking roots in the Balkans. The “Agreement for the Establishment of the WBF”, was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.
Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) is an independently functioning institutional mechanism, founded by the Western Balkans 6 participants (WB 6): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia, aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs.