Youth Exchange as Motor for Regional Cooperation? – Origins, Development and the Political Significance of the Future “Regional Youth Cooperation Office” (RYCO), in: Südosteuropa Mitteilungen 05-06/2016, 17-26
Abstract: In July 2016, the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia signed the agreement for the establishment of the « Regional Youth Cooperation Office » (RYCO), a new institutional mechanism which will support the development of youth exchange in the Western Balkans. This new institution did not come out of nowhere : Since the end of the Yugoslav break-up wars, there have been different regional youth exchange projects and also discussions about possible forms of institutional support for these encounters, but it is only in 2014, with the beginning and in the framework of the « Berlin-process », that the governments of the region took up this idea. Besides the political will of the governments, other decisive factors for the establishment of RYCO have been the support from external actors and the active involvement of civil society actors. The article also discusses challenges for RYCO and the potential impact the future institution might have not only for young people, but also for the relationship between governments and civil society and for the regional cooperation in general within the Western Balkans.
German version: Jugendaustausch als Motor für regionale Kooperation? Vorgeschichte, Entwicklung und politische Bedeutung des zukünftigen “Regional Youth Cooperation Office” (RYCO),
as pdf online on the website of the Südosteuropa Gesellschaft
See also my interview about RYCO in “Balkan Perspectives”, issue 6, December 2016:
More information about RYCO: