Project „Regional Youth Compact for Europe“

CSOs and youth organizations from the Western Balkans to effective participation in the process of EU integration

Regional Youth Compact for Europe is a three years project which aims to strengthen CSOs, especially youth organizations in the Western Balkans and Turkey, in order to enable their more efficient participation in the creation of the public policies and monitoring of the processes of the European integration. 

Project Team

Center for Democracy Foundation, Balkan Network for Local Democracy (ALDA – European Association for local democracy and nine agencies for local democracy from the region of the Western Balkans), Youth Act Center (Albania), CRTA (Belgrade) and SODEM (Turkey) are participating together in different activities with the aim to strengthen capacities of the CSOs and of youth organizations for monitoring the implementation of the public policies and for advocacy through structured dialogue. Special attention was paid on the good governance, rule of law, economic governance, employment and reform of social policy. It is expected that combined activities such as regional networking, strengthening the capacities of the members of the Balkan Network for Local Democracy and youth organizations, monitoring, should increase the influence of the CSOs in the reform processes on the road to EU.

The first meeting of the Project team was held in June 2018


Strengthening the capacity of project partners

The First Regional training for the Network Members of the project Regional Youth Compact for Europe took place in Novi Sad, Serbia, from 20-21 October 2019. The trainers were experts from Civil Society Organizations.

Main topic on the training was the accession negotiation process with the EU with the focus on rule of law, fundamental rights, social policy and employment, public administration reform and to set up the grounds for strengthening the Network capacity for reporting, monitoring and advocacy actions to promote effective implementation of the EU integration related reforms. The Chapters 19, 23 and 24 were presented and their importance for citizens was emphasized, and the participants were introduced to the monitoring of public administration reform in the Western Balkans.

The second three-day training with more than 30 participants was held from 10 to 12 September 2019 in Knjaževac. Areas covered by this training were policy monitoring and evaluation, done by the experts from Serbia and Croatia. Training also included evidence-based advocacy at the local level, local budgeting and youth policies.

Study visit to the National Convention on the EU in Serbia

The Study visit to National Convention to the EU was organized in Belgrade on 29-30 November 2018, when the Regional Youth Compact for Europe project was officially presented, together with the Study Visit to the National Convention on the EU in Serbia.

After short introduction from Nataša Vučković, Exectutive Director of CDF and Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations Section 1 of the European Delegation, a panel discussion was held, with representatives of CSO who are dealing with the challenges that young people are facing in the Western Balkans region, related to the EU integration process and how they can actively engage in their local communities. As a part of the Agenda, the visit to the European Movement in Serbia, one of the key organizations for process of EU integration, was organized. More details about this event you can find on the following links: 

First Regional Thematic Network Forum and Annual Conference

On 26th and 27th February 2019 in Tirana, two important regional events were organized: Regional Thematic Network Forum and Annual Conference. More than 80 representatives from the civil society, regional organizations, public and private sector of the Western Balkans, EU and Turkey, as well as youth representatives participated on these events. On Regional Forum the participants had the opportunity to gain knowledge on new possibilities for cooperation among different actors in the region, but also to participate in simulation of joined activities for integration in the EU on the regional level. An important issue of animating young people related to knowledge and monitoring of European integration in their communities was also raised, and what was the best way to bring this complex process closer to them. It was concluded that greater connection is needed, both regionally and between the state and civil sector, in order for the path to the EU to be as successful as possible. During the first project annual conference, best practices in the work of CSOs in the Western Balkans at the local level were discussed.

Regional Workshops for Youth

The first Regional workshop „Rule of Law and Fundamental Right – why they are important for the youth and how they can contribute to monitoring of reforms“ was held in Mostar, on March 25-26, 2019. About 20 young people from Western Balkans were introduced to the European values, with the special focus on the Chapters 23 and 24. The participants discussed European values, standards and principles that every candidate country should incorporate during the accession process, and also why the rule of law and fundamental rights are important for them. More about this event you can find on the following links: 

The second Regional Workshop for young people about the employment policy, labour market reform and education was held in Pristina on November 5 and 6, 2019. The aim of the workshop was to spread knowledge about the processes and procedures of European integration, with special emphasis on the employment and social cohesion. The workshops covered some of the most important topics for young people from the Balkans and Turkey, such as labour market reforms, decent work standards, social cohesion, youth mobility and employment opportunities. You can find more about the event at the following links:

POLITEIA Regional School for Youth from Western Balkan

The First Western Balkan School for Youth Participation POLITEIA was held in RESPA - Regional School of Public Administration in Danilovgrad, Montenegro from 1st to 6th April, 2019. The best students, young scientists and activists from the Western Balkans, who gathered in Danilovgrad upgraded their knowledge on European integration process, concept of the rule of law and social cohesion. Above all, participants got better acquainted with the process of public policies design, and through practical exercises and simulations they acquired skills for monitoring and preparation of the amendments for policies improvement and through practical exercises and simulations they acquired the skills to monitor their impact, results and make suggestions for their improvement. You can find more about the event on the following links:

The Comparative study „Civil Society in the Western Balkans: Involvement in the EU Accession Negotiation and EU Integration Processes from Initiatives to a Structured Dialogue“

In November 2019, the Comparative study Civil Society in the Western Balkans: Involvement in the EU Accession Negotiation and EU Integration Processes from Initiatives to a Structured Dialogue was published. The study underlines the difficulties encountered by each country in this procedure, but also shows the recent dynamics through progress and initiatives which took place during the last years. Furthermore, the authors made a distinction between on the one hand Serbia and Montenegro which are in an advanced phase of the EU integration and on the other hand North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which need more reforms in order to fulfil the European requirements. There are numerous elements regarding the cooperation between authorities and CSOs which can help them in this procedure. Besides the analisys of the current situation and mechanisms of inclusion of civil society, the study is offering the recommendations for improvement of its contribution in this process.

The study was conducted by CRTA, partner on this project.

The Regional Youth Compact Thematic Forum – Youth in the Region

Following two Regional Youth Workshops, the First Regional Youth Compact for Europe project Thematic Forum: was held on the 7th of November 2019 in Pristina. The main goal of the forum was to establish a youth network will work as a network of young students and activists empowered for monitoring EU related reforms within the EU integration processes.

The members of the network will apply in practice the knowledge about process of EU integration in their countries. They will also cooperate with their local communities and will work in the establishing of the best ways to implement the reforms, to monitor the results and the effects of changes. During the Forum the participants have adopted the Declaration of Youth about the regional cooperation that you can read on the following link: 

RYCE Internship programme

The RYCE internship program is realized in order to make possible to young people from Western Balkns to exchange experiences. It is also important to provide a framework for young people in the region to gain firsthand experience about the functioning of CSOs and the work they do but also to assist in finding out and establishing innovative, youth friendly, forms and content of communication, leading to increased youth participation in civil initiatives, policy design and structured dialogue. By 20th April, the total of nine exchange programmes were reallized and four more are planned for the future. As a part of the internship programme, Ivana Jačeva from North Macedonia spent a month in Center for Democracy Foundation. More details about her experience, and about the other interns from the región you can read on the following links:

Regional call for local youth organizations under the Regional Youth Compact for Europe ‘We have a say’

On 15th January 2020, the call for proposals for grant support of the ‘We Have a Say’ Youth Fund, under the Regional Youth Compact for Europe project, was launched by the Center for Democracy Foundation. The total budget for the ‘We Have a Say’ Youth Fund amounts to EUR 78,000. The funds will be used to increase the participation of youth and to strengthen local democracies, through support to local youth non-state organisations in Western Balkans. The call was closed on February 28th 2020 and the total of 64 applications were received from the entire Western Balkans.

We Have A Say Youth Fun​d (RYCE Youth Fund) 

Through this Youth Fund, the CDF supported 13 local organisations operating within the region (North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) and the projects they organised aimed to increase the participation of youths and strengthen local democracy in the WB.

The following organisations presented their projects and the results achieved within their respective local communities: Art Aparat (Belgrade, Serbia), Youth Voice Network (Albania), Team 42 (Leskovac, Serbia), Eco Action (Tetovo, North Macedonia), InterLingua (Podgorica, Montenegro), NYGEA (BiH), Ogledna Bašta (Niš, Serbia), National Youth Congress (Albania), Brus Youth Centre (Brus, Serbia), Young Active Gračanica (Gračanica, Kosovo*), Student Union Vršac (Vršac, Serbia), Trade Union Education Centre (BiH), Balkan Development Centre (Kraljevo, Serbia).

„POLITEIA Western Balkans School for Youth Participation“ 2021. 

The regional POLITEIA School for youths residing in the Western Balkans and Turkey was held 

The Politeia School was held from 7 to 29 May 2021 in a new, digital format (Politeia Institute platform), with approximately 30 participants, interested and dedicated young adults, a large number of prominent lecturers and experts, decision makers and representatives of academia within the region and Europe, where quality discussions were held on current topics of relevance.

The Politeia School attendees were addressed by the following speakers through panel debates and discussions: Liselotte Isaksson (European Commission, DG NEAR, Head of Sector, Society, Social Inclusion and Human Capital), Snežana Samardžić Marković (Director General of Democracy, Council of Europe), Jan Zlatan Kulenović (Director of Programs, Regional Youth Cooperation Office, RYCO), Antonella Valmorbida (Secretary General of the European Association for Local Democracy, ALDA), Prof. Dragoljub Mićunović, PhD (President of the Board of Directors of FCD, former MP and President of the Chamber of Citizens of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia), Kori Udovički (President of the BoD, CEVES, Belgrade, and former Minister of Energy and Mining of the RS Government), Aleksandar Kovačević (Energy expert, Belgrade), Prof. Vladimir Janković, PhD (University of Manchester, Great Britain), Linda Çavdarbasha (Deputy Minister of Environment, Government of Kosovo*), Ana Marjanović Rudan (Public Policy Consultant, Praxis Development), Jasmina Murić (Head of Human Resources, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, RS Government), Jovan Protić (ILO in Serbia), Đorđo Cvijović (Regional Youth Cooperation Office RYCO), Marijana Koceku (WPS Albania), etc. 

The following group shared their knowledge and experiences through lectures and interactive conversations with the young attendees: Ivan Vejvoda (Institute of Social Sciences, Vienna), Prof. Gordana Đurović (Faculty of Economics, University of Podgorica, Montenegro), Vesna Pusić, PhD (former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Government of the Republic of Croatia), Prof. Andreas Gross (former member of the Swiss National Council and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), Prof. Eralda Çani (Faculty of Law, University of Tirana and former Deputy Minister for Integration in the Government of Albania), Natalija Mićunović, PhD (Senior Research Associate, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade), Mirna Jusić (PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Public Policy, Karlov University of Prague), Aleksandra Vladisavljević (Gender Policy and Budget Consultant), among others.

Local activities

Stakeholder Platform „Monitoring Local Reforms - Good Practices are becoming Our Practices“ and Local Youth Workshops „We are Europeans“

Local stakeholder platforms that are bringing together representatives of local authorities, civil and private sector representatives and young people in order to strengthen cross sectoral cooperation. The platforms should present the important role of local governments in the process of European integration, as well as the role of civil society organizations in their monitoring.

Local regional youth workshops bring together young people from the local area and introduce them better to the process of European integration. Special focus was placed on social policy, employment, rule of law and fundamental rights. During these workshops, young people learnt about the importance of European integration for them, but also gave feedback on how they can contribute to the process.

From April 2018 to April 2020, 15 local platforms and 11 local workshops for young people were held, organized by the project partners.

Regional Youth Network Forum – a representation of a comparative study conducted within the framework of the RYCE project

Youth Transformative Potential in the EU Integration Processes and Post-Covid-19 Developments in the Western Balkans (Comparative Study)

EU and the Western Balkans: Towards Renewed Trust (RYCE – Final Project Conference)​ 

The Center for Democracy Foundation organised a final conference entitled European Union and the Western Balkans – Towards Renewed Trust, where regional CSOs, partners of the Regional Youth Compact for Europe project adopted recommendations for expediting reforms and encouraging the EU integration process, subsequently submitted to the European Union and the governments of the West Balkan countries.

Opening of the conference: Mateja Norčič Štamcar, Deputy Head of Delegation/Charge d’affaires, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia; Nataša Vučković, Executive Director, Center for Democracy Foundation. 

At the conference, relations between the European Union and Western Balkans were discussed in three panel discussions, seen through the prism of EU integrations and youth participation.

In the first panel “European Union and the Western Balkans - Renewed Trust and New-Found Enthusiasm for Expansion/Integration”, the central topic was current relations between WB countries and the European Union. Antonella Valmorbida (Secretary General, European Association for Local Democracy ALDA, France), Sonja Licht (President, Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Serbia), Prof. dr Gordana Đurović (Faculty of Economics, University of Podgorica, Montenegro), Daša Šašić Šilović (Chair, CEE Network for Gender Issues, Croatia; President, European Partners for the Environment), Saša Magazinović (Member of Parliament, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Remzi Lani (Executive Director of the Albanian Media Institute, Albania), Nataša Vučković (Executive Director, Center for Democracy Foundation, Serbia), Ana Krstinovska (Founder and Director, ESTIMA, North Macedonia), spoke at the panel, moderated by Antonela Riha, Journalist.

The second panel “West Balkans Youth – Between Expectations and Reality” was dedicated to the youth and their expectations of EU integration. Dragan Srećković (Researcher, Serbia), Djordjo Cvijović (RYCO, Serbia office), Anja Jokić (National Youth Council of Serbia, KOMS, Serbia), Ivana Jacheva (Northern Macedonia), Marjana Koceku (Albania), spoke about this topic. Moderator: Stefan Simić (Program Coordinator, Center for Democracy Foundation). During the panel, research on Western Balkan youth participation in EU integration was presented, which was implemented as part of this project.

The third panel “Local democracy: Active Citizens – Sustainable Communities” dealt with democracy at the local level and citizens’ initiatives, where the panellists were representatives of organisations engaged within local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. Panelists: Stanka Parać (LDA Subotica, Serbia), Maja Vejzović (LDA Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kerim Međedović (LDA Nikšić, Montenegro). Moderator: Katica Janeva (ALDA Skopje).


Analyses were conducted within the Regional Youth Compact for Europe on the following subjects: „Democracy and EU enlargement in the Western Balkans: Can there be one without the other?“ (Author: Nikola Burazer); „Iskušenja demokratije u Srbiji“ (Author: Dragoljub Mićunović), „Evropska unija i rodna ravnopravnost – pogled iz Srbije“ (Author: Miloš Đajić), „Šta je budućnost Zapadnog Balkana – odlasci, dolasci ili cirkularne migracije?“ (Author: Nenad Jevtović), „Mladi i budućnost u Srbiji“ (Author: Vuk Velebit), „Da li su nam mladi prioritet, i zašto nisu?“ (Author: Bojana Jevtović). 

RYCE in public

Promotional activities

The project team pays special attention to its promotion so that as many citizens as possible, especially young people, are informed about the activities and opportunities to get involved in them. Promotional material includes a Project leaflet and Balkan Network for Local Democracy newsletters issued in regular periods of time. A film was made during the POLITEIA School: (, and 2021. promo film Get Engaged - Make Compact! ( 

The project was presented in Croatia at the EUSave conference on September 27, 2019, and also the stands were organized on the occasion of Civil Society Day in Skopje and at the Student Fairs - Career fair at FON University in Skopje, as well as at the Faculty of Law in Skopje.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on project implementation is described in the blog.

Below is a graphic presentation of the activities performed, as well as the upcoming ones. You can see more details about all mentioned activities on the links below. 

Leaflet - Regional Youth Compact for Europe


Regional Youth Compact for Europe - Project Report (PDF)

Regional Youth Compact for EuropeThis project is funded by the European Union

Center for Democracy Foundation,  The Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA),  ALDA Skopje,  Local Democracy Agency Subotica,  Local Democracy Agency Montenegro,  Local Democracy Agency Mostar,  Local Democracy Agency Prijedor,  Local Democracy Agency of Kosovo,  Local Democracy Agency for Central and Southern Serbia,  Local Democracy Agency Zavidovici,  Local Democracy Agency Albania,  CRTA,  Youth Act Albania  i  SODEM Turkey.