Youth Policy in the Western Balkans, as part of the Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans - Related Opinions
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The EESC welcomes the proposal to designate 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Clear indicators need to be developed for the Year, which should focus on the impact on policies and cross-sectoral work beyond the activities organised. The EESC calls for a more ambitious budget, and emphasises the need to ensure that harder-to-reach groups are included in this Year. Welcoming the work that this Year envisages with regard to external relations, it points at the important role that the relatively well-developed youth policies in Europe can play in our neighbourhood and beyond. It points at the need for all institutions to further develop the voice of youth in their policy proposals.
The EESC welcomes the NRRPs as an unprecedented opportunity to drive change and trigger investments in sustainable growth and creation of quality jobs. It urges the Commission to put in place measures that guarantee structured involvement of the social partners, CSO and youth organisations in the implementation and monitoring of the NRRPs. It calls on the Member States to ensure quality and inclusive guidance and counselling for all young people in order to provide them with more information on their further education and, subsequently, on career possibilities in the context of the green and digital transition of the labour market. Close attention should be paid to the issue of mental health and psycho-social disorders, especially among young people, by reducing the stigma around mental health issues through prevention and awareness-raising work.
This opinion will look into the possibilities to engage with young people in a formal way at institutional level and provide the building blocks for a new structured approach to youth engagement at EU level.
On 5 February 2020, the European Commission published its Communication Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans, proposing a new methodology for candidate countries of the Western Balkans with the objective to render the accession process more coherent, respond to concerns of certain Member States expressed in October 2019 and enable the enlargement process to continue.
The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labour force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed. The gender gap starts early and persists across all age groups.
The report will try to find out the correlation between education, employment opportunities, family responsibilities and the nowadays status of the women in the region and to propose adequate measures for improving the situation of women in the region.
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