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At the spectacular ceremony at the Youth Theatre in Novi Sad, Lithuanian city of Klaipeda was declared European Youth Capital 2021 tonight.
“We feel great, we are happy because we did not expect to win. OPENS set high standards and we have a difficult task to reach that. We have worked a lot and now, two years later, we see that the effort paid off”, the members of the winning team say.

The ceremony was attended by numerous officials, including the Serbian PM Ana Brnabić, head of the European Union Delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrici, president of European Youth Forum Luis Alvarado and the Mayor of Novi Sad, Miloš Vučević.

“This is a great day for Novi Sad and great achievement for Serbia. We are costs of a large European event of youth policy and hosts of numerous delegates from different European countries. We have let young people create youth policy strategies in the following five years. The city finances them and it dislocated it from administrative decision-making in sense of content, while the decisions will be formalized in the city office. We will have the most progressive action plan, which will be indicator that young people and also decision-makers, but also the responsibilities which include that they have to be ready to accept the decisions made and to stand behind them. I believe that young people can move this country and they have to use these two titles to show the citizens that Serbia is a place to live. We are eager for as many people as possible to stay in Novi Sad, to move here and not to pack their suitcases. That is basically the purpose of all processes with which we deal and to which we strive. We are eagerly waiting for the announcement of the winner”, Miloš Vučević, the Mayor of Novi Sad said.

“Novi Sad is definitely the centre of Serbian creativity, innovation and ingeniousness. With all creative people, the Mayor and his team who shares the same vision, it does not come as a surprise that Novi Sad is the youth capital. I would specially like to thank you for working together and thereby multiplying your knowledge, experience and creativity to make Novi Sad a creative city. We should all learn from you. You are an example of how a city should behave in the 21st century”, Ana Brnabić, Serbian PM said.

For a year now, OPENS 2019, by its programmes, tries to bring the European values to young people in Novi Sad and to bring the policy at the local level and thereby include young people in decision-making processes. That is a strategy which might me applied in other cities too, His Excellency Sem Fabrici, head of European Union Delegation in Serbia says.

“The title confirms the role of Novi Sad as a city open to the world and Europe. The title brings the message that young people in Serbia will form the future of this country and be a part of European Union and thereby, my role tonight is to support young people and promote European Values. Together we can work on making the road of Serbia to the Union faster and more efficient”, Fabrici adds.

The European Youth Capital title is assigned by European Youth Forum for ten years, trying to bring the European level, policies and values to the local level and to include young people to be active members of the society.

“The winners are usually the cities open for new projects, challenges and they allow young people to take leadership. They create programmes which include young people, not only about the problems of rights of young people, but also about gender equality, mobility, future and economy of a city. Novi Sad is an excellent example since it is very creative, and has become the leader in European rights of young people”, Luis Alvarado Martinez, the president of European Youth Forum says.

Novi Sad won the title in Varna in 2016 and since then, it actively works on the implementation of the planned programmes. The second largest city in Serbia will be European Youth Capital next year, but the programmes implemented by OPENS have already started this year.

“I am very happy that we see many young people in Novi Sad and that we have the opportunity to host more than 350 young people from all European countries. The goal for next year, when we are youth capital, is to reach 500,000 young people who will participate in the programmes and activities in Novi Sad and Serbia, but also in the region. Here are four European cities, with the largest delegations by now – more than 80 people including mayors and the members of the administration. During the next four days, the assembly of European Youth Forum will be held, where new management for the following period will be chosen. Exciting days in Novi Sad are only the indication for 2019 when more than 200 programs and activities will be held. We will also make the cost benefit analysis of everything that has been done in 2019, so that in 2020 we can have economic indicators about how the investment in young people is profitable”, Vukašin Grozdanović, OPENS Coordinator says.

Video authors: Dejan Lang, Marina Kričković; Dejana Todorović, Isidora Pekurar

During the following days, in Novi Sad, General Assembly of European Youth Forum will be held, where the following president of European Youth Forum will be chosen, for the period of two years.

Author: Mateja Ninković

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