Bacau is Romania’s next Capital of Youth. The announcement of the winning city and the ceremony of granting the title took place on Sunday, November 13, at the Romanian Youth Gala, an event held under the aegis of the Young People Summit, hosted by Timisoara, Romania’s Capital of Youth from 2 May 2016 to 1 May 2017. Besides Bacau, the city of Constanta also qualified in the final of the competition.
The independent jury, consisting of 15 representatives of some public institutions, of the private sectors and of the non-governmental sector, assessed the applications of the two finalist cities – Bacau and Constanta – considering the submitted files.
“Thank you very much for the title of Romania’s Capital of Youth. The team in Bacau worked hard and was very involved in this competition and in submitting the application. It’s a city that tries to bring its young people back home, waiting for those who left. Now, that we are Romania’s next Capital of Youth, I promise you we won’t let you down and we’ll do all our best so that Bacau, the winner of the title, makes history”, stated Bacau Mayor Cosmin Necula.
Romania’s Capital of Youth received the High Patronage of the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, a recognition which confirms the value of the idea behind the program, as well as the success of the pilot phase.
Besides the title of Romania’s Capital of Youth, Bacau also won the EUR 50,000 prize granted by the program’s initiators – Romanian Youth Council (CTR), the SHARE Cluj-Napoca Federation, the PONT Group and Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR). The EUR 50,000 prize represents both a starting point for funding the projects proposed by Bacau and an available resource for its own contribution in attracting additional sources of financing.
“The energy created by the Romania’s Capital of Youth programme already has an echo throughout the whole youth sector, increasingly putting the young people in the spotlight, placing them at the centre of the decision processes in Romanian cities. Institutions, companies and NGOs from the youth sector joined hands to build a future on which our generation will look optimistically and willing to be involved in. We will go further and we’ll continue to develop this programme, and we congratulate the city of Bacau, Romania’s Capital of Youth from 2 May 2017 to 1 May 2018, because it convinced us that it deserves to be at the centre of this process for one year!” stated Mihai Dragos, the President of the Romanian Youth Council (CTR).
“We are young and we are fighting for a better Romania in which today’s dreams can be tomorrow’s reality. Few years ago, maybe we couldn’t even dream about important projects for the youth sector, as Cluj-Napoca 2015, European Capital of Youth, or as Romania’s Capital of Youth. Together, we proved that we can develop the non-governmental youth sector in Romania,” stated Tudor Ogner, Vice President of the SARE Cluj-Napoca Federation.
“After a troubled 2016, featuring unexpected events, the young have proved that they are interested, that they want to get involved and that they often see society differently than elders do. We must create an ever-growing number of levers that connect generations, we must create cities with united communities and we also must create the premises for the next generations to take over leadership. We must launch challenges and transform Romania into a country in which making things happen becomes a habit. Timisoara, today’s Capital, and the future Capital are pioneers in this sense. It’s everybody’s role to encourage massive investment in the young,” PONT Group Co-Founder Andras Farkas said.
“We want to jointly create the resources so that all Romanian communities of young people would attain their potential and would transform cities, communities and the country in line with their own aspirations. We believe in the young and we believe in Romania. Romania’s Capital of Youth is a project from which we understood that we must be more than a bank. We will continue to invest in this project,” Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) Public Relations Director Ionut Stanimir emphasised.
Iohannis: Youth involvement in public life, crucial to changing political culture
President Klaus Iohannis on Sunday released a message on the award of the high aegis to the 2017 edition of “Romania’s Capital of Youth,” in which he says youth involvement in the public life is crucial to changing the current political culture.
“Youth involvement in the public life, both directly and through representative organisations is crucial to changing the current political culture. I am hopeful that the civic, social and cultural initiatives of the youth will become an increasingly more important part of our life, and I can assure you of my full support to that end,” Iohannis said in his message read out by his adviser Ligia Deca.
He added that “the youth summit meeting is that sort of an event that allows various groups of the Romanian society to express their opinions and discuss urgent matters within an inclusive and open framework.”
Iohannis also said that in the absence of closeness to certain communities and their specific needs no genuine change will occur that would meet the peoples’ real expectations.
“Given all that, the idea of calling a Romania’s Capital of Youth promises to become a catalyst for such changes at local levels designed to bring the youth front and centre in the urban development process. Hopefully, a new model will be generated for relations between local administrations, representative youth organisations and communities,” said Iohannis.
He added that the importance of such efforts should not be underestimated, pointing out that Europe is considering a new approach of youth integration with society and the labour market, as a result of decreasing opportunities for them. The president warns that for the first time after WWII, intergenerational economic progress, considered natural in the past, has disappeared.
Iohannis said young people in the countryside are now poorer than the previous generations, facing problems with starting up an independent life and with making a family.
“Given the context, I have bestowed my high aegis on the 2017 edition of ‘Romania’s Capital of Youth’ as a starting point in a shared endeavour to bring youth issues back to the fore in Romania’s public space,” said Iohannis.
He added that this initiative needs additional support, including the central public administration players correlating their youth policies.
“Young people will only be front and centre in the community development strategies by constant cooperation among mayor’s offices, local and county councils, youth organisations, the private sector and other civil society leaders,” said Iohannis.