Report of the second meeting of the working group

Tirana, 14-18 December 2015

1. Participants of the Meeting

  • Members of the Working Group: Ina Avllaj, Đuro Blanuša, Marija Bulat, Krenare Gashi, Adnan Husić, Vedat Jashari, Edin Koljenović, Dafina Peci, Faton Položani, Rejan Igor Roić, Zorica Stamenkovska, Krsto Vukadinović
    Excused: Branka Malešević
  • FGYO-moderation-team: Bujar Luma, Frank Morawietz, Nicolas Moll
  • Technical support: Flavia Röhrs
  • Consultant: Tihomir Popović (2nd and 3rd day)

2. Context and aims of the second meeting

On the basis of the “Joint Declaration on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans”, signed during the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna, the 27.8.2015, by the Prime Ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, a Working Group has been constituted with the task to elaborate, until the 1st March 2016, „concrete proposals for the mission, structure, activities and financing of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office”. This Working Group gathers governmental representatives and representatives from youth organizations from the WB-6-Participants which were nominated in November 2015 and which will meet in four meetings between November 2015 and February 2016, the working process being facilitated by the Franco-German Youth Office. The first meeting of this Working Group took place from 23 to 27th November 2015 in Berlin and was mainly dedicated to team-building, getting all Working Group members on the same level of information, agreeing on internal working procedure of the group, and starting the discussion about the four working areas (mission, structure, activities, financing). On this basis, the aim of the second meeting was mainly to work concretely on the four designed working areas, in order to agree on big outlines regarding the mission, structure, activities and financing of the RYCO and to specify the questions which need to deepened and clarified.

3. Main steps and results of the second meeting

3.1 Work on the four domains: mission, activities, structure, financing

During the first meeting in Berlin, the WG had started to discuss very generally on the four domains – mission, activities, structure, financing – on the basis of the concept note on RYCO elaborated in Summer 2015 by the Fact-Finding-Mission. During the meeting in Tirana, the WG continued and deepened this work, by working very concretely on the different domains, especially on the activities, the structure and the financing of the RYCO.

Concerning the activities, the WG reached agreement on the main type of activities, and on the criteria for the applicants and the programs to be supported, and also on the fact that criteria should be different depending school exchange and youth exchange program. One question which will need more discussion is whether RYCO should support only trilateral/multilateral or also bilateral exchange programs regarding youth exchange. Concerning the structure and the financing, the WG also agreed on several proposals, for example to add, besides the secretariat, the governing board and the advisory board, also a rotating chairmanship for RYCO, and concerning the financing of RYCO that there should be a progressive budget from the first to the third year and that the financial contribution of each WB-6-participants should depend on three factors: the GDP, the total number of population, and the percentage of young people within the total population. Questions which will need more discussion are for example how exactly to calculate the financial contribution of each WB-6-Participant, and what should be the link between the financial contribution of each WB-6-Participant and the number of programs supported from each WB-6-Participant.

For more details on the work on the three domains see the annex at the end of this report.

3.2 Presentation and role of the consultant-expert

During the Berlin meeting the WG had agreed that an external expert-consultant should be tasked to draft the legal documents which the WG will produce and to consult the WG on questions which need clarification. On the basis of Terms of Reference for this external expert on which the WG had agreed on, an open call was launched after the Berlin meeting, and among the different candidates the WG chose Tihomir Popović, who has already worked on different international cooperation processes and structures, and is also familiar with the RYCO process. Tihomir Popović participated at the second and the third day of the meeting, where he presented himself and then participated as “active listener” at the discussions on the different working areas His task will now be to draft, until the 11 January 2015, on the basis of the work done at the Tirana meeting, a first version of the final documents concerning the mission, activities, structure and financing of RYCO, including different options concerning the points which still need to be agreed on.

3.3 Launching of social media concerning the RYCO working process

In order to ensure the transparency of the working process and to inform interested stakeholders, groups and individuals about it, different social media have been launched during the meeting in Tirana:

A facebook-group will also be created after the meeting in Tirana.

3.4. Organization of public activities related to RYCO

Since the Berlin meeting, different members of the WG have started to organize public activities related to RYCO in order to ensure the  visibility and transparency of the process, and in order to include  other organization in the process. The list of these activities will be published and regularly updated on the website  http://www.rycowesternbalkans.org

3.5 Public event in the framework of the Tirana meeting

The last day of the meeting in Tirana was organized a public event where different stakeholders were invited in order to inform them about RYCO and the ongoing working process and to allow networking activities. The event was hosted and opened by the Minister of Youth from Albania, Mr. Blendi Klosi, and was moderated by Ina Avllaj and Frank Morawietz. Besides the members of the WG participated at this event representatives of the Embassies of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as representatives of the World Bank, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, EU Delegation in Albania, World Vision, OSCE, and Swiss Contact.

3.6 Necessity to clarify the question of th seat(s) of RYCO

At the Vienna summit in August 2015, the governments of Serbia and Albania have proposed that Belgrade and Tirana should host the headquarters of RYCO, but there has been no agreement among the WB-6-Partcipants concerning this proposal. In the meantime, alternative proposals have also been officially formulated: in December 2015, the Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH expressed the wish that the RYCO should be seated in Sarajevo, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo that it should be hosted in Pristina. During the meeting of the Working Group in Tirana took place an intervention of Ferit Hoxha – General Director of General Directorate for Political and Strategic Issues of the Foreign Ministry of Albania – who exposed several reasons why in his opinion the seats should be in Tirana and Belgrade.

The position of the WG regarding the question of the seat(s) is the following: It is essential that this question to be clarified as fast as possible on the political level, as the question of the seat(s) is linked to the question of the structure and the finances, and without clarity regarding this point, the WG cannot really advance in its work. Basically there are two possibilities: a) the six governments, on the political level, find a common agreement concerning the seat(s) of the RYCO, b) the six governments task the WG to find, in the framework of their working process, an adequate solution concerning the seat(s) of the RYCO.

Asked by the Working Group, the FGYO had started after the first meeting in Berlin to sensitize the governments of the WB-6-Partcipants to the importance to clarify the question of the seat(s) ; in continuation to this and in order to underline the urgency of this question, the FGYO will send, beginning of January 2016, a letter on this topic to the advisors of the Prime Ministers of the WB-6-Partcipants.

3.7 Next steps

Until the 11th January 2016, first versions of the following documents will be drafted by the expert-consultant:

 

  • Legal statute of the RYCO
  • Definition of activities to be supported by the RYCO
  • Financing plan for the first three years of RYCO
  • Mission Statement

 

These drafts will be sent to the members of the Working Group, so that they will have time to consult with their Ministries / other youth organizations until the third meeting in Sarajevo, and come to the meeting in Sarajevo with comments / questions / suggestions regarding these documents. During the Sarajevo meeting (25-30.1.2016), the detailed work on these documents will then be realized, and until the fourth meeting (16-20.2.2016 in Belgrade) will take place the finalization of the documents, which then will be transmitted to the governments of the WB6-Participants.

As there will be a lot of detailed work to be done during the Sarajevo meeting, the WG decided to extend the length of this third meeting from three to four days.

Between the meetings in Tirana and in Sarajevo will also continue different information and consultation activities within the WB-6-Particpants.

3.8 Evaluation of the second working meeting

The work within the Working Group was characterized, as in Berlin, by a very constructive spirit and atmosphere, and because of this, and also because the members of the WG has again demonstrated a vivid sense about the importance of the process, the regional dimension of the RYCO and the complexity of the questions which need to be taken into consideration, the work has been progressing as foreseen in the working plan. But there is an urgent need to clarify the question of the seat(s) of RYCO on the political level: as the question of the seat(s) is also linked to other questions (especially related to the structure and to the financing), the working process cannot progress on these points until the question of the seat(s) has been clarified.


Find the whole report as a pdf version here.