Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans


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, North Macedonia and Serbia, aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs.

The Agreement on the Establishment of RYCO was signed by the WB 6 Prime Ministers at the WB Summit held in Paris, on 4 July 2016.


The Institutional Framework of the Working Group

During the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna, the 27.8.2015, the  Prime Ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have signed a “Joint Declaration on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans”, in which they declare that they have agreed to “create the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans, as a regionally-owned structure that leads and coordinates youth cooperation in our region”, aiming “to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in our region”. In order to establish this structure, the Prime Ministers declare that they have agreed to “task relevant institutions of the participants to develop, in close collaboration with the Working Group on regional youth cooperation concrete proposals for the mission, structure, activities and financing of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, to be finalized by 1 March 2016”, also stating that “the Franco-German Youth Office will provide the Working Group with technical assistance”.

The Members of the Working Group

The Working Group consists of 13 members (one representative from  Youth Ministry/Directorate for Youth/National Agency for Youth, and  one representative from Youth organizations, for each of the  WB6-Partcipants). The moderation of the working process  will be in the hands of the Franco-German Youth Office, as proposed in the Joint Declaration from the 27.8.2015. The moderation team will consist of  three persons: Frank Morawietz, Nicolas Moll, Bujar Luma. The Joint Declaration from 27.8.2015 has set as deadline for the Working Group the 1st March 2016, in order to develop concrete proposals for the  mission, structure, activities and financing of the RYCO.

The goal and the necessity of RYCO

The Western Balkan societies share both common heritage and common challenges. Conflicts of the past decades have brought with them different forms of prejudice and intolerance, while its aftereffects have continued to be underlined by a lack of opportunities for youth resulting in massive youth unemployment figures and heavy brain-drain across the region. Additionally, young people are facing numerous obstacles often created as a consequence of administrative barriers and mental barriers caused by lack of trust, lack of information, and existing prejudice.Time has shown that only through joint action in promoting tolerance, solidarity, mobility and cooperation we, as a region, can progress.

The establishment of the Regional Youth Exchange Office (RYCO) puts the concepts of friendship,reconciliation and cooperation at the forefront. It is inspired by the experience of the Franco-German Youth Office, along with other successful European youth cooperation projects, which established new relationships and significantly improved cooperation.

The unique apporach of the foundation process of RYCO is marked by the different levels of cooperation. It is first and foremost a cooperation between different countries of the region and their young people. The WB6 participants are cooperating with international stakeholders to find common grounds and are looking for synergy effects and reciprocital support at the same time. Moreover is the equal participation of civil society and government a modern approach to ensure inclusivness and create a most promising youth office for the region.

Two meetings in Tirana and Belgrade were held.

The first meeting took place the 27th April 2016 in Belgrade.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.

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.

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.

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

Source: RYCO

  • Government/Ministry
  • Network
Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • General

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on May 11, 2016
Modified on September 5, 2022