The Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) supports trilateral projects between and among young people from Germany, France and the countries of South-Eastern Europe. In this way, it makes a lasting contribution to intercultural dialogue while strengthening European coexistence. The organisation funds encounters with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
The South-Eastern Europe network
These trilateral encounters are aimed at adolescents and young adults with a commitment to civil society who seek to make a difference in their home countries and at the European level as well. Young people from Germany and France perceive Europe from a perspective different to that of their bilateral exchanges.
To strengthen youth exchange with countries in South-Eastern Europe, the FGYO established the South-Eastern Europe Network and supports it through events and by brokering contacts. This is where stakeholders and partners share their ideas and network with one another as part of the effort to foster encounters with countries in South-Eastern Europe.
Promoting encounters with South-Eastern Europe
Trilateral encounters with South-Eastern Europe are designed to contribute towards a better understanding of other cultures as well as one’s own. The FGYO and its partners tailor these programmes to the situation in the participating project countries of South-Eastern Europe. All of the measures are intended to pursue a project mission that satisfies the requirements of the South-Eastern Europe Special Fund (SOE) of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and they must meet the Guidelines of the FGYO.
The following topics are decisive for funding through the SOE Special Fund in 2023:
- Civic education and human rights to strengthen the role of young people and civil society
- Mobilising for Europe and overcoming regional challenges
- Vocational training, innovation and entrepreneurship
- Youth remembers
- Environmental protection, sustainable development and urban planning
These topics are addressed specifically through pilot projects of the SOE Special Fund. A detailed description can be found in the call for projects. Sample projects can be called up from the list of programmes funded in 2024.
RYCO: Inspiration and cooperation
Through the SOE Special Fund, the FGYO increasingly funds multilateral exchange programmes such as Franco-German-Kosovan-Serbian cooperation. The aim is to support peace work in the Balkan countries and to strengthen democracy on the ground through dialogue.
With this in mind, the FGYO has also intensively assisted with the founding process of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans (RYCO). The two organisations work closely together, advise each other and share ideas, methods and tools for international encounters. As part of the establishment of RYCO, a study was published Franco-German relations as inspiration: Strengthening dialogue and joint action of young citizens across borders.