This week, Albania hosts the OSCE Presence’s “Youth Paths” for the third consecutive year, an annual meeting of youth from across the region, supported by the Slovak government as the up-coming OSCE Chairman-in-Office. With this end in view the Chairman of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Ambassador Bernd Borchard stated that the young people will explore together, each other’s cultures and ideas and discuss the advantages of their generation. “As always, we will expect them with encouraging words. They know today’s worries and challenges better than me and my generation. They have the creativity and the resistance that we do lack.Young people are, naturally, the engine of idealism and social progress. Young people are more energetic and less cynical; they have bigger dreams and less patience. Throughout history, young people have been prominent in all popular movements that have challenged rotten political systems and have made progress in human rights. In Albania, we have seen the dynamism and impact of youth engagement and ideals. Albanian youth led the campaign against the import of waste; young people used their energy and creativity to protest against hydro-power projects in the beautiful and protected areas of the country; at the end of last year, young people gained broad respect for their long and genuinely national campaign for standards and conditions in education. Engaged young people are a powerful element of a civil society, which should have a unique and vital role in overseeing and improving the health of democracy in Albania,’ said Borchard.
“Democracy is better if the government is constantly controlled and challenged by a full team of legitimate players: civil society organizations and activists; truly free and dynamic media; independent institutions; parliamentary committee. That is why the OSCE has projects to promote and enable the participation of young people, women and marginalized groups in political debate and elections. That is why we support the work of independent institutions – People’s Advocates and various Commissioners – and why we encourage them to pay more attention to their reports in the Assembly. Albania’s future depends on the most energetic parts of civil society and all other elements of democratic oversight, in the media, in independent institutions and elsewhere, taking their responsibility with the utmost determination and fulfilling it with dedication sincere about radical changes,’ concluded Mr.Borchard.