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The Youth Summit of B40 takes place, Veliaj: We are investing in the jobs of the future

The Youth Summit of B40 takes place, Veliaj: We are investing in the jobs of the

For two days, the Youth Summit of B40 has been taking place in Tirana. Yesterday, at the opening of the summit, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, called the fact that this year our city holds the Presidency of the Network of Balkan Cities, otherwise known as B40, an appreciation.

"Keeping the Presidency of B40 this year is a great compliment for Tirana. Earlier we were the European Youth Capital, then the European City of Sports and next year we will be the Mediterranean Capital of Culture and Dialogue. If you want a reason to return to Tirana, you always have an open invitation, an open door, and above all an open heart", said Veliaj about the young people of other Balkan cities, who became part of the summit.

Speaking about the changes that Tirana has undergone, from an isolated place to the number one tourism destination, Veliaj gave the message that every city can change.

"I grew up in this country, I was 10 years old when communism fell and democracy came. Tirana was the most isolated city in the world. No one came in or out. It was forbidden to watch foreign television, dress like a foreigner, talk like a foreigner or listen to foreign music. But, when even the most isolated country in Europe today has been transformed into the number one tourism destination, in the most open space, it means that every country can change", said Veliaj.

Among the young people, whom he described as the most active and creative part of society, Veliaj said that the Municipality of Tirana has shown its support for young people with deeds, mentioning the fact that 30% of the members of the Municipal Council are young people. "30-40% of the population represented by youth are the most active, idealistic and creative part of society. The youth of Tirana is the present. But we must turn words into deeds. This means that in the Municipal Council we have 30% young people who make decisions for the city", he said.

Describing Tirana as an example to be followed, Veliaj addressed the young people participating in the Youth Summit of B40, that in their cities they should demand more participation in decision-making. "When you go back to your cities, you should say that we should do it like in Tirana, where 1/3 of the City Council are young people, that only young people can demand, with their vote, that public transport be free for students, as it is today in Tirana. That half of the dormitory fees be paid by the Municipality of Tirana, as it is paid today for all students coming from other cities", he said.

During his speech, Mayor Veliaj focused on the investment in the Pyramid of Tirana, turned into the largest Innovation Center of the Western Balkans.

"The jobs of the future will no longer be in textiles, shoes and fashion. The jobs of the future will be more and more in the creative industries, in digital work, in robotics, mechatronics, in design, in audio and video, in virtual realities. This is why we have created a space for technology in Tirana's most important property, the Pyramid of Tirana. We want to give children today, from the first grade, all the opportunities and digital skills, so that the new generation will do jobs that pay more, which are jobs that stay here, in our homeland, and which are the jobs of the future and not the affairs of the past. This is the big difference we make", he said.

While bringing some positive examples of investments in Tirana, Veliaj closed with a message for all the young people who were at the summit. "I hope you will be inspired by your visit to Tirana, get some ideas. Above all, you will be inspired to take some of these social and civil political actions and bring them back to your cities", he concluded.