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Project Info Sheet | Make Future Together: EU and the Western Balkans from the Youth Perspective

The project « Make Future Together: EU and the Western Balkans from the Youth Perspective » was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens”.

Applicable to the Strand 2 – Measure 2.2 “Networks of Towns”

Measure 2.3 “Civil Society Projects

Strand 1 – “European Rememberance

Preparatory activities (if applicable): the activities involved 13 participants.

Location / Dates:  Belgrade, Serbia / 17-18 September, 2020

Short description: Preparatory activities aimed at setting grounds for enabling youth to formulate and express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in the later stages of the project. The extensive two-days kick-off meeting gathered project partners for a discussion about the potential topics and format of the events. During the kick-off meeting, project partners agreed to build the consultation platform around three topics (rule of law, environment, digital privacy and Internet freedoms) and the events to have a narrower focus on issues related to digital privacy and Internet freedoms only. As for the format, partners decided to have two separate events. The first would collect input from youth representatives combining plenary and group sessions following the “world café” method. The second would be open to the public in the form of a webinar, gathering youth, student representatives, experts, and other interested individuals. Partners also agreed on broadcasting the second event on social media channels to increase turnout and engagement and build a diverse audience. Preparatory activities also involved the preparation of the youth consultation platform launched in six Western Balkan countries.

Events:

18 events have been carried out within this project:

 Event 1 – National Consultation / Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen?
Participation: The online event involved 18 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 11/11/2020

Short description:  The aim of the event was to stimulate a discussion between the young participants and collect their opinions on both positive and negative aspects of the Internet use, as well as to gather ideas on potential solutions.

Event 2– Public Debate / Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen?

Participation: The online event involved 29 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 12/11/2020
Short description: The aim of the event was to have a panel discussion which would include two youth representatives and three people actively engaged on the projects regarding the topic discussed, exchanging their opinions and concerns, and providing recommendations.

Event 3 – Are the social networks really connecting us? – Consultations with youth representatives

Participation: The online event involved 33 participants from Serbia.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Belgrade, Serbia, on 17/11/2020

Short description:  The aim of the event was to bring together a group of enthusiastic young people aged between 18 and 24 to discuss different behaviours online. Participants discussed their engagement on social media platforms, their importance, and the possible social and political causes they might interact with. The event produced several questions and recommendations that were to be communicated with the experts in the field.

 Event 4 – Addressing freedom of expression online: common challenge for the EU and Serbia
Participation: The online event involved 67 participants from Serbia.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Belgrade, Serbia, on 18/11/2020

Short description: The aim of the event was to bring together a panel of four experts alongside the youth representative in order to discuss freedom of expression online, both in Serbia and in the EU. The youth representative, who volunteered to participate from the first day of consultations, presented concerns, questions, and recommendations that the youth came up with, while experts presented insights into these important topics and discussed the way forward. The EU perspective was presented and the importance of several new Action Plans in this area was highlighted.

Event 5 – Youth Event / Addressing freedom of expression online: a common challenge for the EU and Albania
Participation: The online event involved 21 participants from Albania.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Tirana, Albania, on 18/11/2020
Short description:  The aim of the event was to engage the youth in a discussion regarding social media as well as the positive and negative aspects of the Internet. 

 Event 6 – Panel Discussion / Addressing freedom of expression online: a common challenge for the EU and Albania

Participation: The online event involved 38 participants from Albania.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Tirana, Albania, on 19/11/2020

Short description:  The aim of the event was to gather five panellists (one media literacy expert, one EU relations expert, three youth representatives from the first event) on a panel discussion where they could provide recommendations towards building a safe and democratic online space.

Event 7 – Kosovo: The youth perspective on the online space

Participation: The online event involved 16 participants from Kosovo.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Pristina, Kosovo, on 03/12/2020

Short description:  The aim of the event was to bring together a group of young people from all over Kosovo to discuss different behaviours online. Participants mainly focused on the issues related to the use of social media platforms, especially social and political implications, and offered innovative recommendations.

Event 8 – Addressing freedom of expression online: a common challenge for the EU and Kosovo
Participation: The online event involved 54 participants from Kosovo.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Pristina, Kosovo, on 14/12/2020
Short description: The aim of the event was to have an open-door panel discussion between three experts and a youth representative. The panellists have tackled issues such as fake news, disinformation, and the lack of the online space regulation, trying to find a balance between the freedom of expression and a need for stronger regulation.

Event 9 – Can you hear us from the screen? Youth online!
Participation: The online event involved 32 participants from North Macedonia.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Skopje, North Macedonia, on 03/12/2020
Short description: The aim of the event was to engage the youth in the discussion on the Internet regulation, freedoms on social networks and positive and negative aspects of the digital space. 

Event 10 – Addressing Freedom of Expression on the Internet – Common Challenge for the EU and North Macedonia

Participation: The online event involved 33 participants from North Macedonia.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Skopje, North Macedonia on 10/12/2020
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have a panel discussion between two youth representatives and four panellists, who spoke in their area of expertise, namely about the scope of EU action in the field of social media and fake news, media self-regulation model in North Macedonia, fact-checking, and educational policies targeting youth.

 Event 11 – Young online
Participation: The online event involved 35 participants from Montenegro.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 16/12/2020
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have a discussion with the youth, where they could express opinions regarding the use of social media, disinformation, regulations, and freedoms on the Internet.

 Event 12 – Freedom of Expression on the Internet: A Common Challenge for Montenegro and the EU
Participation: The online event involved 50 participants from Montenegro.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 17/12/2020
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have a form of a panel discussion, where two representatives of the youth could present their conclusions from the first event, discuss them with other panellists, and hence give further recommendations.

Event 13 – Internet and Freedom of Expression
Participation: The online event involved 30 participants from Italy.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Rome, Italy, on 24/02/2021
Short description:  The aim of the event was to engage 16 to 24 years old students in order to have a discussion about the positive and negative impact of the Internet and how it would be possible to regulate it hence transform its negative externalities into positive ones. 

Event 14 – Internet, Freedom of Expression and Democracy in Europe
Participation: The online event involved 82 participants from Italy.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Rome, Italy, on 26/02/2021
Short description: The aim of the event was to gather three high-level experts, who provided their opinions on the Internet regulation and democratic trends in Italy, the EU, and the Western Balkans. Five students, who took part in the day-one event, were also involved in the discussion, posing questions about the regulation of the Internet and the impact of the Internet on the future of democracy.

Event 15 – Public debate / Poland, Balkans and the European Union – how disinformation is influencing European society.
Participation: The online event involved 54 participants from Poland.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Warsaw, Poland, on 19/03/2021
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have a discussion on differences and similarities regarding how the Western Balkans, Poland, and other European countries deal with disinformation and other issues on the Internet.

Event 16 – Closed-door event / Poland, Balkans and the European Union – how disinformation is influencing European society.
Participation: The online event involved 78 participants from Poland.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Warsaw, Poland, on 20/03/2021
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have a discussion and to broadcast the report from previous Balkan events, in order to show similarities and differences between Polish and Balkan youth.

Event 17 – Workshop / Making Future Together: A Manifesto by Young People in the Balkans
Participation: The online event involved 23 participants from Belgium and the Western Balkan countries.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 04/05/2021
Short description: The aim of the event was to gather input from the Western Balkans youth, their ideas and preferences on how the EU digital policy field should develop. Since a number of the Western Balkans think tanks carried out online consultations with young people about their views on digital issues, this Workshop aimed to give a pan-regional perspective. The participants were asked to consider some urgent macro-level questions related to the policy debate. The main question that the Workshop sought to address is the way in which a safer and more empowering online space could be achieved. The ideas that the youth has provided in the debates were further developed in the final version of the Youth Manifesto for Digital Space – a source of ideas and inspiration for European decision-makers to ensure empowerment of young people online and to protect their rights and well-being.

Event 18 – Policy Dialogue / Make Future Together: Young people in the Balkans speak up on digital issues
Participation: The online event involved 72 participants from Belgium and the Western Balkan countries.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 05/05/2021

Short description: The aim of the event was to have a panel discussion that would address the views of young people from the Western Balkan region on digital issues, thus encompass them in a broader European perspective. The policy dialogue gathered a youth representative from the Western Balkans as well as five experts from both WB and the EU and resulted in an overall conclusion that there is a dire need for stronger engagement of both EU and the WB countries in this policy field.