Youth4Cooperation Summit – How Youth is central for Interreg

To mark this year’s European Year of Youth, the European Commission’s DG REGIO dedicated an entire morning to exchange with young people involved in territorial cooperation during the Annual Interreg Event 2022 which took place on 26-28 October. The goal of the Youth4Cooperation Summit was to listen to some young people’s concerns and proposals for cooperation and showcase the implementation of the 12 recommendations present in the Interreg Youth Manifesto. Participants exchanged about one main question: two years after its launch, what has changed?

The IVY team and some volunteers attended the Youth4Cooperation Summit in Brussels.

Some IVY volunteers (past and current) and the IVY team at the Youth4Cooperation Summit

A call for peace and cooperation

The Youth4Cooperation Summit started with a session organised by TESIM, the technical support project  for the implementation and management of the ENI CBC programmes cooperating with countries neighbouring the EU.

Daniela Cavini from TESIM moderated questions from three representatives of youth organisations from neighbouring countries: Lana Jagalonia, Youth Ambassador from Georgia, Ivan Bacico, Youth Ambassador for Republic of Moldova, and Anna-Renata Dulger, Youth Ambassador from Ukraine. Lana, Ivan and Anna-Renata posed their questions on peace, cooperation, education and jobs to Leonello Gabrici, European Affairs Expert, and Simona Pohlova, Team Leader for Interreg NEXT programmes and cooperation with Neighbouring Countries at DG REGIO.

Results obtained and to be gained from the Youth Manifesto

Sofia Castoldi and Bektha, members of the Youth Manifesto Core Group*, summarised what are the results they have witnessed following the implementation of the Interreg Youth Manifesto. They  mentioned increased awareness of Interreg, direct actions to communicate about European Territorial Cooperation by young people, independent actions taken to foster new networks for cooperation.

They also noticed room for improvement: Interreg must become more accessible, more inclusive, more open to involve young people’s ideas, for example through simplified calls for proposals.

Besart Kabashi, Pia Peitl and Nais Rigollet, Junior Professionals in the European Commission and YouthNEXT project leaders, presented the outcomes of their project investigating how to support youth’s involvement meaningfully. “Be inclusive, talk to and listen to all people involved, follow-up on involvement actions” mentioned, among others, Besart, Pia and Nais.

Bektha and Sofia Castoldi, speakers at the Youth4Cooperation Summit

Best practices of youth involvement in Interreg

In the last session of the Youth4Cooperation Summit, actions taken to involve young people in European Territorial Cooperation were shown. Some of these are a result of the recommendations of the Youth Manifesto, some initiatives run in parallel. In any case, there are many opportunities to look for to engage in cooperation, and these were presented at the Youth4Cooperation Summit:

  • ALCOTRA Youth Council
  • EUSALP Youth Council
  • Baltic Sea Youth Platform
  • Danube Youth Network
  • Western Balkan Fund
  • Interreg project “Filling the EU Sàpmi knowledge gap”
  • Various initiative under Interreg NEXT MED
  • POPRI competition, EUSAIR
  • Interreg project AYCH – Atlantic Youth Creative Hub

The parallel workshops on environment, digital education and employment and entrepreneurship followed for participants to dialogue closely on topics of their interest.

Ten IVY volunteers have been invited to take part in the event and exchange on their experience and perspectives on European Territorial Cooperation: it has been amazing to meet them in person and get to know them!

Now back in our regions, we look forward to following next news on youth involvement for cooperation.

*Read more about the Interreg Youth Manifesto and discover about the Youth4Coop initiative. To join the Youth Manifesto Core Group and exchange with others about ideas and plans to follow-up on in the Youth Manifesto, write an email to ivy@aebr.eu.

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