The Youth Dialogue, which under the auspices of the EU Delegation to Montenegro launched the EU Info Centre, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports and youth organisations, is “getting in shape.” A training session was held at the youth centre in Podgorica for young participants who will be conducting future trainings. Another step in a long journey.

“There needs to be as many opportunities as possible for the voice of young people to be heard. What is also important to me with this approach is that decision makers will be involved, which is very important. Hearing the voice of young people instead of listening to it often brings more harm than good because the trust in institutions is lost,” said Jelena Fustic from the MNE Forum.

She is especially glad, says Jelena, that there will be talks about youth unemployment, because most of them blame the institutions for their status. The dialogue will be an opportunity to present these issues to the institutions and find ways to improve the situation. A wide network of organisations that cover the entire country will bring a lot of votes to the young participants, says Fustic.

The current data shows that 36% of young people are invisible to the system, i.e. that they are not in the process of education, but they are not employed either. That is why our society needs the EU mechanism “Youth Guarantee,” which is determined to support every person under the age of 30 who is not employed, in education or in training (the so-called NEETs).

This scheme provides young people with a quality offer of employment, internships, part-time learning or continuous training for four months after completing their education or losing their job. The dialogue with young people will provide a picture for decision-makers on the current situation and the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in the process of drafting a similar scheme in Montenegro, which is in the initial phase.

Milos Knezevic from the NGO Queer Montenegro believes that civil society organisations are an important link in youth development. He hopes that the dialogue with young people will eventually bring concrete changes, i.e. recommendations on how to change policies regarding youth employment.

“We know that our youth unemployment is at a high level, and that is a key problem that worries young people, especially young people whose community I represent. We all know the status of this community in Montenegro. That is why I believe that this process will have concrete results. I would really like for the opinion of young people to finally be included in the creation of policies that directly affect them; that they themselves be the creators of the reality in which they live in,” Knezevic said.

Milos Djurovic from the Student Council of the Faculty of Law says that “The EU Youth Dialogue” is his first enouncter with youth policies and adds that he is ready to give his full contribution to the entire initiative.

“Montenegro is by nature a closed and conservative society and this dialogue should contribute to the liberalisation of young people, which would eventually lead to joint demands that would be submitted to state institutions. The voice of young people needs to be released in order for that voice to be heard,” said Djurovic.

The dialogue with young people should “generate” concrete recommendations for improving the position of young people in society and offer the development of services that should facilitate their access to the labour market, including youth entrepreneurship.