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20 June: Action Day of Young Trade Unionists in South East Europe “It’s Time – Against Youth Unemployment and for Greater Opportunities”

30 June 2008: On the 20th of June altogether 20.000 – mainly young – people took part on public performances in the afternoon and evening in the capitals of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania.

The PERC SEE Youth Network (SEEYN), supported by the ITUC, the ETUC, the ILO, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the LO-TCO Sweden, the Solidarity Center and national confederations in the SEE countries, developed since 2002 a number of regional and sub regional cross border trainings, seminars, workshops and conferences on organizing, employment, project management and other relevant topics for young trade unionists.

During the last three years the PERC SEEYN members, supported by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and the ITUC PERC SEE Office – Sarajevo, discussed on a number of regional youth activities the realization of a “dream”, as it was said by one of the SEEYN member, a regional campaign taking place at the same time in the countries of the SEE region, employing one and the same slogan in different languages of the region. This “dream” become real on 20th of June 2008, when for the first time since the recent wars in the SEE region trade union organizations have been able to successfully carry trough a common regional action programme when young trade unionists from Albania to Hungary, from Croatia to Romania pull together to fight against unemployment and for equal access to quality employment, social security, education and life long learning.

Thanks to an EU-scheme on social dialogue the SEEYN developed themselves, and trough the support of the FES Regional office in Belgrade and the FES national offices in the region, the young unionists have managed to speak with a single voice and to openly address people throughout the region. With the slogan “It’s Time!” the young trade unionists expressed their strong will to participate in the reconstruction of their societies and the region, animating young people who are feeling increasingly marginalized to be active in shaping their own future.
With the support of the FES an application to the EU Commission for funding in 2007 was submitted, which proved successfully. Under its terms the FES, in accordance with the EU Commission, took over responsibility for supporting the organizations in countries which had not yet been eligible for funding (Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo) and the EU Commission funds were used for the activities organized in Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. This was not an easy project construction, but it worked well due to the great commitment of the SEEYN members and the FES offices.

Right after the positive decision of the EU Commission the one-year action program started operationally in autumn 2007, with a preparatory meeting held in Zagreb which developed the frame for the campaign activities. The decisions were taken mutually, the contents planned in concert and implemented together by the SEEYN members. The campaign began its march forward on the week-long training seminar, organized in Skopje (Macedonia), end of February 2008, on which the youth employment situation in the region was analyzed and when the campaign activities were further developed.

On the 20th of June altogether 20.000 – mainly young – people took part on public performances in the afternoon and evening in the capitals of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania. Young Trade union officials working on voluntary basis in different areas of trade union activities proved to have management capacities for implementing the activities, finding even additional sponsors to organize “happenings” in the open air or in concert halls with artists, presenters and musicians raising the subject of youth unemployment alongside their performances.
SEEYN members already start discussing possibilities for a follow up program, counting on the support of their national Trade Union confederations, the PERC, the EU, the FES and other Solidarity Support Organizations (SSO)

Numerous media (newspapers, radio and television) produced advanced reports about the campaign. A brochure in five languages will set out experience gained during the campaign and its results so far and a video documentary on how the campaign planning and the Action Day developed will be available in September 2008. For more information consult the website of the joint EU/FES project: www.seeynet.eu

Jasmin Redžepović
Team Coordinator
ITUC PERC SEE Office – Sarajevo

this article has been tagged

Youth Committee , South-East Europe , Youth policy , Decent Work , EU-IPA , FES
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