"New Opportunities for Dignity of Youth in Serbia" CISU Final Conference – promote social progress and ensure the social dimension in Serbia and Europe.

The final conference of the project "New Opportunities for Dignity of Youth in Serbia" was held on Wednesday 30 January in Belgrade. The participants had the opportunity to learn about Danish-Serbian cooperation in the field of employment and the employability of young people, while the social partners presented their work on the project and the concrete measures taken to improve the conditions of youth work in Serbia. Guests from the European Commission and SOLIDAR Foundation talked about good practices from EU Member States.

The conference was a good opportunity for sharing knowledge and opinions about youth unemployment in Serbia, in comparison with some EU Member States, after the implementation of European Youth Guarantee. The conference’s first panel was composed of Claus Larsen Jensen of the Forum for International Cooperation (FIC) from Denmark who presented the project’s aim and purpose, and the Danish Ambassador to Serbia Anders Hougård who stressed the importance of dialogue with the social partners as a means of building consensus and determining the direction the state should take in employment policy. Serbia’s Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Zoran Djordjevic, attended the conference and was part of the second panel, together with the Vice President of the Council of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) Dusko Vukovic, the President of the United Trade Unions “Independence" prof. Dr Zoran Stojiljkovic, the President of CATUS, Ljubisav Orbovic, and the Executive Director of IDC (Citizens Initiative for Development Cooperation) Serbia, Miodrag Nedeljkovic. The second panel discussed youth unemployment in Serbia and led the discussion with the participants. In the last panel the representative of the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission, Ida-Maria Fallesen, presented the EU perspective on youth unemployment and Federica Rosato from SOLIDAR Foundation talked about the policies of the European Union aimed at improving the quality of life and increasing employment of young people, with concrete examples from Denmark, Italy and Spain.

The project "New Decent Job Opportunities for Youth in Serbia" promoted social dialogue and encouraged cooperation between social partners, all with the aim of acting together to find ways of reducing the youth unemployment rate in Serbia. The goal of the two-year project was to strengthen cooperation and social dialogue in Serbia through the adoption and implementation of the Agreement of the social partners on the creation of opportunities for decent work for young people, signed at the end of last year.

The project is funded by the CISU* fund within the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ programme. The Forum for International Cooperation (FIC) Denmark, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to social development and strengthening inclusion, played the leading role in the project. The project partners in Serbia are the Serbian Association of Employers, the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia and the “Independence” United Trade Unions. The implementation of the project was coordinated by the IDC.

SOLIDAR Foundation has worked in cooperation with civil society and social partners in the Western Balkans to promote social progress and ensure a social dimension in the EU Enlargement process. Through participation in this project we aimed to help develop the capacity of civil society organisations and social partners to enhance the economic, social and cultural rights of the most vulnerable groups, notably young people.

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