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As part of the WB2EU project, the 5th Ideas go Public Lab event was organized in Belgrade on September 19 and 20, 2022. The topics discussed were inequality and the position of young people.

According to the Index of commitment to reducing inequality, Serbia is in 84th place out of 154 countries, the situation is similar with the entire region of the Western Balkans. Bearing that in mind, the topic of inequality is extremely important. The moderator of the panel was Sonja Licht, president of the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society, while the panel participants were Brankica Janković, commissioner for the protection of equality, Sarina Bakić, professor and researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Sarajevo, as well as Sofija Todorović, program director of the Youth Initiative for human rights.

During the panel, the participants discussed the causes of inequality, and ways to overcome them, since inequality permeates many areas of social action. Thus, economic insecurity often leads to a lack of social measures and respect for basic human rights for the most vulnerable groups in the Western Balkans, such as Roma, women 45+, people with disabilities and the LGBT community. The participants agreed that regional cooperation can help overcome inequality, since the problems related to inequality are similar for all residents of the Western Balkans region.

The second panel was dedicated to young people, their activism and their position in society. Mirjana Đorđević, on behalf of the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society, at the beginning of the panel presented the key findings and attitudes of young people during the summer school held on Cres, which gathered participants from 17 countries. The panel moderator was Nikola Burazer, executive editor of the European Western Balkans portal, while the panel participants were Milica Borjanić, program manager of the National Youth Council of Serbia, Andrea Mićanović, youth representative of the RYCO Board of Directors, Angela Angjelovska, vice president of the National Youth Council of North Macedonia.

During the panel, the participants tried to identify the problems faced by young people in the Western Balkans region. Numerous problems faced by young people are related to the incompatibility of the labor market with education, the lack of democratic processes, which leads to less motivation of young people to take an active part in key social events. Panel participants concluded that one of the solutions for greater active engagement of young people and improvement of their position can be achieved through the reform of the education system, both formal and informal.

Closed meetings with WB2EU network partners were organized on the second day of the event. The organizers of EUROPRIDE, as well as representatives of the Moramo movement, participated in the meetings.

WB2EU is a long-term project that brings together 17 research centers and academic institutions from the Western Balkans and the EU. The project aims to establish a WB2EU network that will become a point of reference in the field of promoting EU enlargement and democratization efforts in the Western Balkan countries.

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