The East-West Parliamentary Practice Project (EWPPP), headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan nongovernmental organization founded in 1990 as a joint initiative of the European Cultural Foundation (NL) and the Ford Foundation (US) with the aim of providing support for parliaments in the newly emerging democracies in Central/Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

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Youth Unemployment in the Western Balkans: the case of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro

Youth Unemployment in the Western Balkans: the case of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro


Project partners: Albanian Centre for Human Rights, Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) Kosovo, Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT) Montenegro, Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation (FORUM) Macedonia
Project budget: EUR 105.000 funded by the King Boudwijn Foundation
Project duration: 2016-2017

Project Summary

EWPPP focus on the Western Balkans (Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia) is based on the position of these countries vis-à-vis the EU, the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans and the challenges they are facing as a region with ‘brain drain’ and overall youth exodus. Between mid- 2014 and mid- 2015, some 164,650 citizens of the Western Balkans sought asylum in the EU, or 22.05 % of all asylum seekers in the EU.
Overall, youth unemployment levels remain critically high. A recent report on youth employment in the Western Balkans by the World Bank (2016) finds that many young people are idle—that is, neither in employment nor in training—and that young women, in particular, have a weak attachment to the labor market.
The project aims at exploring solutions in order to provide them with alternatives – as well as to prevent others from leaving their countries. This project is exploring exchange and cooperation at the government level which could help in creating a ‘free work zone’ in the Western Balkans, where youth could work anywhere in the region without work permits. Project activities include cross border exchanges of information on education, discussion with youth groups and political leadership designed to provide alternatives to the massive youth migration and youth unemployment.

The rising challenge of youth unemployment in Albania
National roundtable

Tirana, 23 May 2016

Albania is second to Syria in the number of refugees heading to Germany (290.000 asylum seekers in the past 3 years). They are not entitled to asylum, but still have to be processed and end up languishing in Germany in refugee camps. Visa free travel through Schengen countries has enabled this massive migration north. The Albanian roundtable was held in January 2016 in Tirana, Albania, under the auspices of the Albanian Minister of Youth and Welfare, and with the participation of MPs, civil society representatives from the Western Balkan region, and Albanian youth groups.

The rising challenge of youth unemployment in Kosovo
National roundtable

Pristina, 13 February 2017

The Kosovar roundtable was held in Pristina on 13 February 2017, under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Social Welfare. Kosovo suffers not only very high youth unemployment, but also a desire among the youth to migrate – especially to Germany. It is a major problem not only for Germany, but for all Western Balkan countries, which are losing their potential work force. The turnout was exceptional. The conference provided youth political activists/leaders a forum to debate their concerns with one another and the Minister of Youth.

The rising challenge of youth unemployment in Montenegro

National roundtable
Podgorica, 1 April 2017

Although due to the economic growth in Montenegro, the general unemployment rates have declined, the winners among the recent employment recovery are workers aged 55 and older as well as the highly educated. The losers, on the other hand, are the low-educated, especially low- educated youth. The workshop was held in Podgorica on April 1, 2017, under the auspices of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Participants included civil society representatives and local authorities from Montenegro, Slovenia, Albania and Kosovo.

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