“Youth is the future of the country”, thus it is important that young people learn to be in politics by building relationships with their communities and by using opportunities in the environments of their daily lives. Qualifications act as mini-policies through which young people develop an understanding of what it means to be a member of a collective. Meaningful opportunities to practice political skills and behavior can be promoted in schools and communities, through social media and through policy change. Historical events, especially elections, can also influence political attitudes and behaviors in a sustainable way. Cultural and contextual variability in experiences, access to opportunities, and responses to historical events shape the political pathways of youth development.
In this regard, there is a large discrepancy between the total numbers of young people engaged in politics. Being about half of the population of Kosovo, undoubtedly the youth is an insurmountable factor in decision-making and policy-making in the country, therefore it is part of the public discourse of our politicians. This is because not only so-called youth policies are for young people. In fact, almost every public policy affects young people and their lives in one way or another. The fact that the vast majority of young people exercise their political role in determining their future mainly only on election day remains a problem. Their active non-involvement in the policy-making process, especially within political parties, has provided the opportunity for young people to speak for and on behalf of young people, often without taking their views into account at all. Another problem is the reasons that would push young people to join political parties.
As regards the behaviors and attitudes of young voters, employment and easier career advancement are the first, respectively the third reason that would push young people to join political parties. These two reasons can be mainly attributed to the approach used so far by political parties, which through party employment have demotivated young people to join parties to advance the interests of young people. Meanwhile, the desire to contribute to issues that are of interest to young people, which ideally should be the main reason, is listed as the second reason that would push young people to join political parties. Conditionally speaking, without changing this ranking, the engagement, role, and influence of young people in shaping policies within parties will continue to be marginal and symbolic. And in order for such a change to occur, work and commitment are needed, especially from the political parties, but also from the young people themselves. Young people need to keep in mind that political parties need young people as much as young people need them, if not more. The more there are young people within political parties, the more they increase the electorate and the potential to win the new electorate. On the other hand, the more there are young people engaged in political parties, the more their views could be translated into political programs that would then improve the situation of young people.
It should also be noted that there are two sides of the coin in the tendency to engage young people mainly through forums or youth groups, which almost all political parties in Kosovo have. The first and with negative premises is that based on the current practice, youth forums of political parties have been mainly used for symbolic activities and have had a completely marginal role within political parties. Moreover, it would not be insincere to say that the same ones have almost never been part of the parties’ attitudes regarding certain policies or issues, which have been assessed at a higher political level. Secondly, the existence of these forums or groups can be used for the political formation of young people, who then take on leadership roles and bring out as many ideas for public policymaking, which then will translate into political programs and inevitably will also influence young people.
However, taking into account the so far experiences in Kosovo, the active involvement of young people in politics in general and in political parties in particular without reforming the latter in terms of demarcating the role of young people within political parties is predisposed to have very faint effects. So, it is time for young people not to be content with being the “future” of the country. In order to be the “present”, an uninterrupted commitment of young people is necessary, especially in political parties so that they continuously advance their interests. However, taking into account the so far experiences in Kosovo, the active involvement of young people in politics in general and in political parties in particular without reforming the latter in terms of demarginalizing the role of young people within political parties is predisposed to have very faint effects. So, it is time for young people not to be content with being the “future” of the country. In order to be the “present”, an uninterrupted commitment of young people is necessary, especially in political parties so that they continuously advance their interests.
The programs of political parties in Kosovo naturally include youth problems, but how much are those programs implemented? In fact, these programs that define youth issues are not being implemented satisfactorily. But, the best time when young people should enter politics is when a young person passes 20 years or after he has finished the university. I think that at this age the time necessary to finish the studies is enough and there is still time left to deal with those things that are considered quite challenging issues for the country. Young people should be involved in political parties when they themselves have clear ideas in that area. While according to good practices of civic participation in the decision-making process as the main bearer of civic participation is undoubtedly advocacy for certain interests. In a more concise way, participation in decision-making processes implies an opportunity for citizens and other stakeholders to influence the development of policies and laws that have an impact on these parties.