The Croatian Youth Network, the umbrella youth organisation in Croatia, on Friday organised a number of events in downtown Zagreb to mark International Youth Day. The events were organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Family Affairs, War Veterans and Inter-Generational Solidarity.
This year's International Youth Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the position of young people today.
A state secretary at the Ministry of Family Affairs, War Veterans and Inter-Generational Solidarity, Stjepan Adanic, said that since 2006 the government had spent more than four billion kuna on youth programmes, recalling also the national youth strategy for the 2009/2013 period which envisages numerous programmes designed to help young people.
Croatian Youth Network president Katarina Pavic said there were around 900,000 young people in Croatia and they were among the most vulnerable groups in all spheres of social and political life. Almost 40 percent of young people aged 15-24 are unemployed and of all EU countries, only Spain has a slightly higher share of unemployed young people, Pavic said.
In the academic year 2009/2010 around 60 percent of all students were paying tuition fees as against 12 percent in 1993/1994, she said, warning about "a dramatic restriction of free higher education". She noted that Croatia allocated EUR 3,200 per student, while Slovenia allocated EUR 6,500, Austria EUR 10,500 and Scandinavian countries as much as EUR 20,000 per student.
The Croatian Youth Network called on all political parties and decision-makers to stop marginalising problems faced by young people in the country.
Also today, a special award called "Join In!" was presented to Ana Milovan and the Mala Filozofija association for their contribution to positive social changes and exceptional youth activism.