EU Youth Conference: Croatian Youth in Rural Areas Must be Prioritised

Lauren Simmonds

The Croatian demographic crisis is continuing to bite just as hard as it has ever done, with more and more Croatian youth abandoning the country and taking advantage of Croatia’s EU membership for a better life and more economic stability in Western Europe, many feel the government has simple forgotten about them.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes on the 12th of March, 2020, in the Croatian capital of Zagreb at an EU conference, fifty experts discussed both opportunities and challenges.

On Wednesday, Zagreb hosted a two-day meeting where the topic of not only Croatian youth, but youth from across the bloc was discussed. The meeting of the leaders of the Youth Authorities’ Administrations in Zagreb is the third in a series of such meetings of the presiding countries of Romania, Finland and Croatia, and a symbolic handover of the presidency to the German delegation was organised at the end of the meeting.

Within the main theme of the meeting, officials discussed the challenges facing today’s generations of young people, including disillusioned Croatian youth, and the need to ensure equal life opportunities for all young people. Although the topic of youth in rural and remote areas is one of the priorities of Croatia’s EU Council Presidency, the discussion also included other current issues.

Otherwise, the three-day conference entitled ”Youth Opportunities in Rural Areas – How to Ensure Rural Sustainability in EU Countries” organised by the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy brought together youth representatives from EU member states, delegates of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, national and international youth organisations and researchers and scientists, as well as youth decision makers.

In her opening speech, Vesna Bedekovic, Minister for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, stressed that Croatian youth and others across the EU living in rural and remote areas needed to be recognised as a priority of Croatia’s EU Council Presidency because of the growing inequality between young people living in the countryside and those living in cities.

She added that the desire is to encourage young people to participate in democratic life, to increase their involvement in society and to ensure that as many young people as possible contribute to the formulation of youth policies. The conclusions of the conference will serve to shape the documents regarding future youth policies.

For more on Croatian youth and the current demographic crisis, follow our dedicated politics page.


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