The conference held in Rome on 22-26 November brought together European youth to discuss common issues, face policymakers, and mobilise new energies from below, facilitating the emergence of a young transnational network to design new initiatives as well as foster fresh views on both the EU and Balkan integration.

SG Roberto Antonione joined the session on “EU enlargement, national and international policies" along with representatives from other key international and regional organisations. In this context - considering the significant challenges to democratic transition in the Balkans together with debates on the rule of law inside the EU, which have increased questions on EU integration - Antonione emphasised that regional cooperation strongly fostered by organisations such as the CEI in order to facilitate political dialogue, can only be seen as a strategic contribution to accelerate the enlargement process - and certainly not as a barrier that ought to be complemented by other regional organisations. He considered the joint activity with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative “IMAGINE” Call for Ideas and Award Competition as a token of fruitful cooperation that benefits youth across the region.

The event came as a response to a proposal from the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, and was realised by the Regional Cooperation Council, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Study Centre for International Politics and Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa, with the financial contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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