Preparing for the Western Balkan Summit in Paris: The Finalization of the RYCO-Agreement and its Statute

Tirana/Belgrade, 08.06.2016

The RYCO-Working Group handed over, through the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), the 1st March 2016, the proposals for the establishment of RYCO to the governments of the WB-6- Participants. Since then, two meetings took place on the governmental level, together with the Moderation Team from FGYO, in order to finalize the RYCO-Agreement and the RYCO-Statute and to ensure their signature during the next Western Balkans Summit, in Paris the 4th July 2016.

The first meeting took place the 27th April 2016 in Belgrade. It gathered the chiefs of staff /diplomatic advisors of the Prime Ministers of the WB-6-Participants, the French and the German Ambassador in Belgrade, the General Secretary of FGYO, and the Moderation Team of FGYO. The main aim of this meeting was to clarify the financial questions which had remained open. An agreement could be found on all financial aspects. The total amount of the annual RYCO-budget  will be 2 million Euros, the financial contributions of each WB-6- Participant will be based on the GDP and the population of each WB-6- Participant and the overall contribution of the WB-6- Participants to the annual budget will be 50% + 1 Euro.

A second meeting took place the 23rd May 2016 in Tirana, and gathered representatives of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs of the WB-6- Participants and the FGYO-Moderation Team. They finalized the documents mainly by bringing coherence to both texts, the Agreement and the Statute, cleaning them from redundancies and bringing them into a proper stylistic form.

The clear copies were then transmitted to the six governments so that they can launch the necessary institutional procedures which will allow the signature of the RYCO-Agreement and of the RYCO-Statute during the Paris Summit the 4th July.

During these two meetings, it was also decided to create a Joint Coordination Team in order to coordinate the steps until the Paris Summit and also in the time after the Summit, until the opening of RYCO. This Joint Coordination Team will include a representative of the Albanian goverment – who will be leading the Team -, the Moderation-Team of FGYO, and a representative of the French and of the German government.

The Joint Coordination team will meet the 28th June 2016 in Belgrade, together with the
RYCO-Working Group, in order to elaborate a concrete road map for the implementation of RYCO, for the time period between the Paris Summit and the opening of RYCO.

The RYCO-Agreement and the RYCO-Statute are planned to be signed by the Prime Ministers of the WB-6- Participants during the Paris Summit the 4th July 2016.

The other documents which had been elaborated by the RYCO-Working Group (RYCO Overview, RYCO-Activities, Budget Proposal) will be handed over to the Secretary General and the Governing Board once those will have been established, and will constitute their working basis to elaborate for example the future guidelines of applicants for RYCO-projects and the Financial Procedure Rules. The RYCO-Working Group and the FGYO-Modeation Team will be present at the Paris Summit.

Together with the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, LOJA – Center for Balkan
Cooperation and the Moderation Team of FGYO will also organize different youth events in
relation with the Paris Summit : one seminar with 14 young people from the Western Balkans who will elaborate recommendations which will be presented during the Paris Summit, and three youth events in Tirana, Podgorica and Belgrade which take place the same day as the Paris Summit.