From February 13th to 15th 2018, the seminar on "Young people and the labour market: the challenge to implement policies to prevent forced migration", organised by MCL / EFAL (Movimento Cristiano Lavoratori / Ente Nazionale per la Formazione e l'AddestramentodeiLavoratori) with the support of the EZA and the European Union, took place in Belgrade. It was part of the EZA special project for workers' organisations in the Western Balkans.
During these three days, 27 representatives of workers' organisations from Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy and Romania took part, who exchanged views on the different national policies on youth and employment and the possibility of social dialogue as an essential element for the European integration of the Balkans.
The aim of this seminar was to work towards ensuring that the enlargement process in the Balkans remains credible, sustainable and truly transformative. Adequate awareness raising at the highest political level is necessary both in Europe and in the region itself.
Particular importance was attached during the work of training young people, which could help to, among other things, stabilise the Balkan region economically and socially.
The seminar was opened with a press conference introducing the seminar. It was intended to emphasise the importance of social dialogue and exchange. Both are indispensable in these countries, which in the past have suffered harsh dictatorships and wars.
The following topics were discussed during the seminar:
- The future of social Europe: the content of the new European social pillar of social rights and the challenges facing workers;
- The youth between training, employment and migration: exchange of experiences;
- The Balkans and its cultural heritage: social cohesion as a challenge to European reconciliation and integration
- Labour policy and industrial innovation with a focus on industry 4.0;
- The European integration process and the status of negotiations. The situation in Montenegro.
The seminar was concluded with a panel discussion involving the two EU candidate countries Montenegro and Albania.
The main message from this discussion summarised all the basic ideas of the three-day meeting, namely that all Balkan countries that dare to move closer to Europe should be given hope, ambition and support. Social dialogue and negotiations with the European institutions are essential for the Europeanisation of these countries. It is necessary to build a basis for the future of young people by encouraging their creativity and thus paving the way for new perspectives. This is the main finding underlined by all participants. It is feasible to root the democratic process in the Europe of the Western Balkans and to form an alliance between the European institutions and workers' organisations. The citizens of the Balkans, and especially young people, must be able to count on the full support of the EU institutions in order to achieve the long-awaited European integration.