The Sarajevo Summit 2015 Declaration
We, the youth of the Western Balkans, have gathered in Sarajevo to continue our dialogue and come up with an agenda for the future of our region, as we see it.
Today, the Western Balkans is a region in transition, where signs of economic development are becoming visible and in which cooperation is more seen as an obvious choice, rather than an only remaining option. Yet, there are still numerous acute political and social problems within the region.
The slow pace of reforms and its impact on prospects for EU integrations, full regional cooperation and dealing with the legacy of recent past endowed the region with weak institutions and judiciaries, ailing education systems, severe unemployment, poor infrastructure, fuelling drug and human trafficking and other forms of organized crime.
These days, we are witnessing how the relations between states and leaders in the region’s political society are very fragile, endangering the minimal levels of cooperation established so far.
The EU was built on a belief that the political harmony and prosperity of its citizens strongly depends on close cooperation between neighbouring countries across a wide range of social, cultural and economic areas.
The history of achieving reconciliation between once conflicting neighbouring states is best shown through relations between France and Germany. These same values and spirit of cooperation must be fostered in the Western Balkans.
New generations of active young people represent the resource with which such relations can be built.
However, young leaders must be empowered to do so, at a practical level, by facilitating robust and informed dialogue in order to open new and durable channels of communication and cooperation on issues challenging the region, particularly the common goal of EU membership of the Western Balkans countries.
We, the youth of the Western Balkans, are willing take on the responsibility of carrying out the work that must be done. In this endevor, we need support from our governments and this is why, from them, we jointly demand:
- To make concrete steps in establishing the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans and create grounds for full reconciliation between our peoples, process led by the new generations. First step must be involvement of Croatia as an equal partner in this process.
- To fully support the RECOM Initiative and after 20 years since wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and 16 years since the war in Kosovo, 14 years after the conflict in Macedonia pay full respect for all the victims of wars in ex-Yugoslavia
- To immediately tackle the issues of freedom of movement, especially between Kosovo and Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo
- To focus on solving all open issues burdening the advancement of our region, especially issues within Bosnia and Herzegovina and relations between Kosovo and Serbia
- To pay rigorous attention to adoption and full implementation of laws guaranteeing rights of all minority groups, in all of the region’s states
- To encourage youth activism, provide opportunities for new generations to engage in reforming processes and gradually take leadership roles in the region’s future
- To show solidarity and offer coordinated region’s solution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that the refuges passing our countries are currently facing