Europe and Western Balkans are changing demographically, frequently as a model of ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ countries, said Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Majlinda Bregu, pointing out that around 230,000 citizens have legally migrated from the region to the EU in 2018 alone, while more than five million have migrated in the last seven years.
“With young people, these figures are even higher: although 61% of them support EU integration of the region, they do not waste their time,” said Bregu speaking in the high-level panel debate on the Western Balkans-EU relationship in Zagreb last week.
The RCC is fully committed to the regional cooperation, she said, adding that the situation could improve and “these worrisome trends reversed.”
“Although the regional cooperation is meaningful only if the final destination is the EU integration, we need to continue working together connecting markets and people, allowing for easy movement of people, goods and services across the region, upgrading our educational systems to meet the needs of the labour markets, empowering women, mobilising youth in the decision-making processes, including social dimension into our activities – dismantling the barriers within our region. All this and much more, to make people want to stay and those who have already left to return and contribute to the development of our societies. Because what are lands without people”, concluded Bregu.