If you have followed the development of Talk.France since its beginning, you know our love for the Western Balkans Region. Indeed, our first important event took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, back in June 2015. Since our first trip to the Western Balkans, Talk.France has developed much and has broadened its partnerships all over the world but has kept a particular link with Tirana, Prishtina, Sarajevo, and Skopje among others… We are notably organizing soon a French-German-Albanian encounter on the topic of walls, starting from next September in Paris. The project will be based on Street Art and Walls in Europe, material and immaterial walls, present or past walls. If you want to know more about this project, click here.
Today, Talk.France is in Kosovo to get to know more about the isolation of the country and its youth. Our Vice-President Eléonore is currently working within the European College of Kosovo as a Coordinator for International Relations and has the aim to build partnerships with other Europeans Universities. This is a great challenge and enables us to help and to get to know more about the issues of our neighboring countries. Kosovo is a very dynamic country as its population is really young: approximately 45% of the population is under the age of 25. But this youth is facing impressively high rates of unemployment, and so do the women too. The European College of Kosovo has the vision to not only provide the formal education to its students but also to bring practice closer to theory while inviting experts of several professional fields to share knowledge and experience with the students, organizing numerous trainings, and taking part to diverse international conferences. This enables young students to develop their entrepreneurship spirit and their employability.
Despite its strong ties with the European Union, Kosovo is facing a major obstacle to its development: The visa liberalization process with the European Union. Kosovo is the only country in the region that doesn’t benefit from a visa-free regime with the European Union. Young Kosovo-passport holders can only travel freely to 3 of their neighboring countries: Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. To reach any EU Member States where a great majority of Kosovo’s citizens have relatives since the 90’s, a citizen has to apply for an expensive visa (124€, while average salary is about 400€) which is often refused by the Member States authorities. A precious need for the country is to enable its citizens to travel, to see their families abroad, to be able to study abroad, bring knowledge and “know how” from experiences abroad to the country, develop their intercultural skills, reach opportunities and build a safe environment for their families.
We are all wishing to Kosovo to get granted the Visa-free regime no longer than this year. And if Kosovo´s citizens cannot come to us, it is our duty to come to them and hear their voice, share their dreams bring them opportunities.