Since its establishment in 2003, YIHR has been advocating for the free movement of youth in the region and in particular for the recognition of educational and professional qualifications across the region, which would enhance the distribution of knowledge and the exchange of experiences and expertise. For many years, YIHR activists have been fighting against the existing barriers, trying to deal with the legacy of the past as well as the existing contemporary issues in their societies and on the regional level.
Based on our 19-year long experience in creating connections among the youth in the region through regional exchange programmes, youth summits, street actions and advocacy meetings with national and international actors, we have persistently asked states to deliver solutions that will increase mobility and empower togetherness instead of “otherness”.
We strongly believe that this step will significantly improve the mobility and exchange in the WB and we congratulate all Berlin Summit participants for making this dream a reality. We would also like to use this opportunity to invite the states to respect signed documents and to invest all necessary efforts to fully implement them.
However, we have to continue stressing that Croatia remains a missing puzzle in this picture. Regional reconciliation and mutual understanding can only be achieved if the region as a whole is included. Therefore, as YIHR we will continue to work intensively on including youth from Croatia in the process of building a more connected, just and peaceful region. Existing issue with the use of car plates reflects the political disagreements between Kosovo and Serbia, as well as the implementation problems of the agreement on the IDs, it is still preventing people in both countries from fully enjoying their freedom of movement and this practice must be changed immediately. Also, the unjust visa regime for Kosovo is still in place and we urge the European Union to conclude the visa liberalization process as soon as possible.
During the Western Balkans Youth Forum organized by Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) YIHR participated in the Youth declaration writing process together with more than 70 participants from the region. The Declaration will be available on the RYCO website.