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Harghita County Council, in cooperation with the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions organized on 9th of October, within the European Week of Regions and Cities a workshop entitled Brain Drain: a one way ticket? – workshop on youth and workforce migration. The European week is one of the biggest event-series on EU level.

The workshop was opened by Iuliu Winkler, Member of the European Parliament. He highlighted that some measures should be formulated on European and on member states’ level regarding the brain drain theme. Moreover this is highly important on local level as well. Also, if the local community is stronger and more attractive, less people will emigrate to other countries. These communities will be able to determinate their own priorities and for this reason the educational, public administration and the entrepreneur sphere on local level must strongly cooperate.

Borboly Csaba, president of Harghita County Council and rapporteur on youth and higher education themes, raised the attention on the importance of the urgent debate on the subject.  The president of the county council has been also appointed as political coordinator within the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) of the European Committee of the Regions. As presented, the theme starts to be urgent, since currently debates are taking place regarding the elaboration of the youth strategy after 2020. In this matter, member states, especially Eastern European countries must take a stand in this issue because the basis of the economic and social development is a well-defined youth policy and concrete measures are necessary in these countries for the reduction of the emigration among youth. In this area, local and regional authorities  have important roles and responsabilities.

– The rate of higher education and vocational qualifications in the EU has not been fully recovered after the 2008 financial crisis. There are huge differences on economic and social level not only between member states, but between regions as well. EU politics must put a greater focus on these differences, especially on the less developed regions, during the elaboration of educational strategies – highlighted Csaba Borboly, who has been elected by the European People’s Party, as political coordinator within the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) of the CoR. He consideres that the limitation of educational rights on economic, ethnic, linguistic and on any other basis must be stoped. – We all know that there are some measures, that limit the minority students to access education in their mother tongue and it would be a great mistake not to think that this fact doesn’t influence the increasing rate of youth emigration. Those initiatives, such as the Minority Safepack, are very important in the preservation of national identity and cultural diversity.

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José Ignacio Ceniceros González, president of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) of the CoR said that there are other problems for issuing countries than for host countries, because some regions are more interesting and attractive for the youth. Rural regions, the less developed regions are less interesting from this point of view and these are usually the issuing parts. Talent hunting and searching for them forces these regions to take action to stop or reverse the brain drain.

Navracsics Tibor, Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said that it is important to make local and regional communities more attractive. By creating jobs, improving the quality of education, cultural life and sports, local circumstances must be created so that young people, even if they go abroad, return to their hometown, to their region. Basically, regional and structural funds can help to strengthen the retention capacity of the given region. At the same time, the Commissioner said that mobility is most likely to pose a threat to peripheral regions, as youth migrate from the eastern European regions to the west, with education and culture playing an important role in Europe’s competitiveness.

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Forró Gyöngyvér was also invited speaker of Harghita County Council to the workshop, who presented her own experiences by working at the European Parliament.

Important contributions were brought to the conference by further speakers, such as Mr. Tadeus Truskolaski, president of the Interregional Group of Less Developed Regions of the CoR, Mr. Radimir Čačić, president of the Commission for culture, education and youth of the Assembly of European Regions, as well as Mr. Raymond Xerri, president of the ETTW – Europeans Throughout the World.

More information about Mr. Borboly Csaba’s activity within the European Committee of the Regions can be found on the webpage.


This year, Harghita county was also popular in the European Week of Regions and Cities

Seklerland’s local values were once again presented during the European Week of Regions and Cities. On the opening ceremony of the week, on 8th of October, a long queue was formed at the stand of Harghita County Council to taste gastronomic products with Sekler Product trademark. – We consider important that our quality products to be known on European level. Our objective is to raise the attention to our local producers and local products – said Borboly Csaba.

The photos of the Brain Drain conference can be accessed here, as well as on the EWRC Flickr account, and the livestream can be rewatched here.


Miercurea Ciuc, 9th of October 2018.

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