The EU-CoE youth partnership has held a seminar in Mostar, hosted by the Bosnia and Herzegovina chairmanship of the Council of Europe: ''Beyond Barriers: a youth policy seminar on social inclusion of young people in vulnerable situation in South East Europe''.
The seminar is part of a long process of mapping barriers to social inclusion of young people and developing responses in a mixed format involving policy-makers, youth workers, researchers and youth organisations. About 50 participants from Western Balkans and Turkey explored the landscape of youth policy in the region and looked at the tools available for social inclusion.
The seminar was opened by the Assistant Minister of Civil Affairs, Ms. Biljana Čamur, Karin Lopatta-Loibl from European Commission DG Education and Culture and Mary Ann Hennessey, Head of Office of the Council of Europe to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Participants highlighted the need for more opportunities for actors in the field of youth to meet and exchange across the region. They called for political commitment to youth policy implementation and for support to mainstreaming successful bottom-up initiatives such as local youth club networks, personalized approaches to social inclusion, more research and more updated data on the situation of young people in SEE. Involvement of local authorities in implementing youth policy and involvement of young people in municipal councils was seen as a crucial step to making social inclusion of young people an agenda item in the contexts closest to their living realities. Finally, there was an agreement that new answers are needed to the challenges that young people face in their transition to autonomy, requiring commitment across all national and local services.