On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the South-eastern Europe Initiative of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), Reboot Europe! – an online conference for young citizens from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – was organised by FGYO in co-operation with the Regional Youth Co-operation Office (RYCO), Crossborder factory, Youth Initiative of Human Rights (YIHR) Serbia, Peuple et Culture et Une Terre Culturelle.
The Council of Europe, represented by Ivan Hromada, Chair of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), was invited to make a keynote speech in the opening session of this conference (16-21 July 2020). In his speech, Ivan Hromada presented the Council of Europe, its youth sector and its pioneering co-management system. He pointed to the challenges facing the field of youth work and young people themselves that the current crisis is bringing (the sudden shift to the online world, NEETs, funding for youth organisations, the shrinking space for civil society, mental health issues), but also referred to the environmental damage and climate change – overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic but that have not gone away. He also explained how the Council of Europe youth sector and its most relevant partners have been working during the Covid-19 crisis. Ivan Hromada also mentioned the CMJ’s working group on responses to the pandemic.
In his conclusion, he referred to the annual report of the Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić – Multilateralism 2020 – published early July which covers the Council of Europe’s actions since the Helsinki Ministerial Meeting in May 2019 and the Organisation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
This “Re-boot Europe!” Conference will make an important contribution to shaping the future of Europe by bringing the voice of 100 young citizens from the countries of the Western Balkans, France and Germany to the debate. There is now space to pro-actively think and imagine Europe, not just react to the Brexit and Covid-19 crises but to shape the Europe we want.
For more information on the conference: https://www.reboot-europe.online/
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.