Sixty young people have been selected as Young European Ambassadors (YEA) from the Western Balkans. They will now take up their exciting roles as the first members of the new network, developing skills and sharing ideas to promote EU values and opportunities.
The YEA initiative is part of the European Union Regional Communication Programme for the Western Balkans, launched earlier this year. This first call for YEA applications attracted over 400 candidates, with the winners eventually decided by a mix of online public votes and a six-person jury livestream decider.
The selected YEAs bring a diverse mix of skills and passions to the network. While coming from a variety of backgrounds, all share an interest in learning about EU values, connecting with their peers, and pursuing their talents. Most importantly, they are open to sharing ideas and inspiring change in their communities, the Western Balkan region, and across the EU.
“This platform is very important for the European Commission. We consider the future young ambassadors and the young people of the region, as one of the key drivers of the positive changes in their countries which we are supporting,” said Myriam Ferran, Director in the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
The young people will take part in conferences, cultural events, and study trips across the EU and the Western Balkans to expand their skills and networks.* They will get involved in all kinds of creative and social action projects. They will develop their leadership skills through tailor-made courses, discover communication techniques – online and offline – and learn about the EU and what it offers the Western Balkan region.
To take part, applicants were required to be 18-29 years old and a resident of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, or Serbia. They needed to be active in areas such as art and design, film and photography, music, youth activism, environmental protection or sport – fields that naturally bring people together – and explain what they have to offer and their YEA mission in a one-minute video.
The high number of participants and 80,000 votes cast shows the great interest in the project, and in opportunities offered by the EU for young people in the Western Balkans not only for their personal improvement, but also for building solidarity and mutual support.
A second call for applications will open next year, with all details published in due course on webalkans.eu.
*All ‘live’ events and activities are subject to measures in place for the Covid-19 pandemic
The EU Regional Communication Programme for the Western Balkans was launched in January 2020. The programme is funded under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and will run for three years. The objective is to inform diverse target audiences about EU values, policies and programmes. The programme comprises three integrated components:
- Three integrated region-wide communication campaigns
- Development of an online portal
- Creation of a Young European Ambassadors network
- Publication date
- 18 September 2020
- Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations