From 25 to 27 April 2023, Young Professionals Network joined the Bridging the gap initiative, aiming to promote dialogue between civil society and elected representatives from the region and from the European Union.
The 2023 Bridging the gap brought together 19 Members of Parliament, 20 representatives of civil society organisations and three YPL alumni from countries of the Western Balkans for a three-day event that allowed them to exchange in a climate of dialogue, commitment and cooperation.
They debated with Members of the European Parliament, among which DEG Lead Members for the Western Balkans Vladimir Bilčík and Matjaž Nemec, staff of the European Institutions and representatives of the European civil society. These sessions addressed matters such as the role of the youth in the EU integration process, green agenda and digital transition and disinformation and regional cooperation.
Sara Zekaj, our Partnership Officer stressed the important role that youth has to shape the region’s future and the necessity to ensure that youth’s voice is properly heard in the policy-making system. Moreover she lobbied for more quotas at the Blue Book and Schuman Traineeship for nationals from Western Balkans, so the young people form the region can have a first hand experience in the EU institutions. In the long run this will not only support the transition from school to work, but also support the enlargement processes of each country.
The Bridging the gap event was co-organized by the European Parliament’s Mediation and Dialogue Support Unit and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations with the Regional Cooperation Council – RCC.