The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office in Tirana in cooperation with the regional office Dialogue Southeast Europe successfully organized in Durres (Albania) from 20th to 24th of June 2018 the seventh Together in Europe - Youth Summer Camp on “Social Democratic Perspectives”. 54 young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia participated in the event as members of parties with social democratic orientation, trade unions, youth organizations etc.
The purpose behind the camp was to bring together young people from the Western Balkan countries and give them the opportunity to learn in an interactive way the main principles of social democracy. The camp aimed at encouraging youngsters to discuss and come up with their own ideas for a functioning and socially just society. Additionally, Western Balkan countries aspire a common European future. This year the camp was also focused on better understanding the process of the EU integration of the Western Balkans by youth and what the youth could do to contribute in this process through their active participation. The program consisted of interactive lectures by external experts, group exercises and presentations as well as political educational games
Reputable speakers were invited to present and discuss with the participants on diverse topics. After a welcoming speech of the project coordinator of FES Tirana office Mariola Qesaraku, Frank Morawietz, representative of the France-German Youth Office (OFAJ/DFJW) held a presentation about Intercultural communication in the Western Balkans and guiding the participants in small working groups through simulation and discussion on the importance of intercultural understanding. Further, Eugen Musta lecturer at University Marin Barleti spoke about the challenges social-democracy faces by neo-liberalism. Frank Hantke, the director of FES Prishtina office discussed if social democracy would be possible without democracy. In the camp participated also the Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Shpati Kolgega who talked about the European perspective of the WB within the Berlin process by focusing on RYCO as well as Teuta Hodo Deputy Minister of Justice who talked about the impact of progressive youth politics on democracy and the fight against corruption especially in the education system in Albania. Klodjan Seferaj, expert on integration issues focused on how well informed are youngsters in the Balkans about Europe and how important youth is in the process of integration of WB. Besjan Pesha, activist of Nisma Thurrje discussed through concrete examples on how civil society can concretely engage and improve the quality of reforms in the WB. Dorian Jano, lecturer at University Marin Barleti focused on the Europeanisation of public policy. Fjoralba Caka, through a simulation on EU decision making process helped the participants to have a concrete experience of this process. Participants were encouraged to discuss about challenges and chances, differences and similarities of their countries and the region in general, as well as the cooperation with the European Union and support for young people in the Balkans.
In conclusion, this activity resulted to be a very important platform of discussion to exchange views on social problems, youth unemployment, education, and improve mutual understanding and cultural diversity. It also proved to be fruitful for the participants, by learning social democratic principles and values, economic situation and youth’s challenges in the region, and improved their knowledge about the process of EU integration and how to improve it.