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Youth focus at the EU-Western Balkans Summit

Year/Date: 17/05/2018


EU leaders and their Western Balkan counterparts have agreed to invest more in skills, employability and prosperity of young people.

The special focus on youth and socio-economic development are among the priority areas of the Sofia Declaration, agreed to at the EU-Western Balkans Summit, Bulgaria, 17 May. Leaders of the EU and its 28 EU Member States joined counterparts from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Macedonia, and Albania, to discuss innovation and the future of Europe.

They collectively agreed to enhance support to education, including a pilot project for mobility in vocational education and training (VET). This builds upon the EU’s commitment to double funding for the Erasmus+ programme. Running for more than 30 years, Erasmus+ provides young people, in Europe and its neighbours, opportunities to travel, learn and develop skills through education, VET and sport.

A ‘Western Balkans Youth Lab’ will be set up in 2018, providing space for innovative policy-making on youth issues. The recognition of qualifications will be enhanced through the Regional Economic Area – endorsed by the leaders of the six Western Balkan countries in July 2017. The Regional Youth Cooperation Office – a platform for cooperation and dialogue – will be expanded and an intra-regional mobility scheme will be developed.

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* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.


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