Neglect of the youth will come to collect

On the occasion of 12 August – International Youth Day – the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns that young people in Montenegro are too marginalized to be able to contribute to the development of society. If the youth policy in Montenegro is not improved as a priority, neglect of young people will come to collect in the form of larger waves of brain drain of high-quality personnel and remaining apathetic and passive ones who have no desire to contribute to positive changes.

The research on young people’s attitudes, conducted by the CCE with the support of the US Embassy in Podgorica, indicates that young people believe that the Government of Montenegro should have the following priorities: securing human rights and freedoms, reducing unemployment, economic growth and development, improving the position of young people, fight against crime and corruption, social justice and security for all, improving the position of women. On the other hand, the United Nations is dedicating this year’s International Youth Day to the green skills of young people for a sustainable world, which is not so much the focus of young people in Montenegro.

Youth in Montenegro do not get adequate opportunities to get a job and progress, which, along with the derogated education system, with which young people are only moderately satisfied, does not create a stimulating framework for them to stay in the country. Furthermore, young people do not trust political parties, the Parliament and the Government of Montenegro, nor do they think that their voice has any influence on the functioning of institutions, and politics, in this context, practically does not move them. Qualitative research of young people’s attitudes, conducted by the CCE through focus groups, confirms the dissatisfaction of young people with the existing political structures, which they consider to be their primary personal and party, and not the public interest, and that they are working to raise inter-ethnic tensions in the country. Young people recognize two interrelated reasons for such behaviour – protecting the personal interests of politicians and diverting the topic from the impossibility of implementing genuine reforms in the domain of the economy.

In this context, it is no surprise that young people in Montenegro, like their peers in the West, do not see the problem of pollution and climate change as acute, because of corruption and unemployment, as well as the increase in the number of poor people and the deepening of social inequality among citizens, are at the top of their concerns. Also, the dominant majority of young people believe that, in terms of the future, Montenegro is moving in a bad or even a very bad direction and almost 38% of young people have a clearly defined attitude that they want to leave Montenegro. From direct contacts with young people, CCE found out that those who want to stay in Montenegro, to a significant extent, turn to religion and traditional values and have no desire to contribute to changes, while those who have critical thinking and academic ambitions rather prefer to leave the country.

International Youth Day is celebrated on 12 August, and it was established by the United Nations in 1999 to raise awareness of youth issues and increase the efforts needed to work with youth policies and programmes.

Željka Ćetković, Active Citizenship Programme Coordinator