The European Union provided more than 9.6 million Euros, through the EU PRO Plus programme, for the implementation of 18 projects that will contribute to a better life for residents in 30 local self-governments. These funds will be allocated in line with the various territorial strategies which were developed through EU support. These projects will activate the potentials and resources of 11 territories, help solve common problems and promote the joint work of larger cities and smaller municipalities. civil and private sectors and local communities will get involved.

The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret and Minister of European integration Tanja Miščević presented today in Belgrade the certificates to the local self-governments and regional development agencies that will lead the implementation of these projects.

“In the process of European integration, partnership is the most important. The Republic of Serbia is a country that is a candidate for EU membership because we want it and believe that it is the best for all citizens. And the European Union, on the other hand, is our partner on the way to membership, primarily in reaching the standards of developed European societies. And that is actually the goal and the most important thing in the whole process of European integration. Through projects like these, that we are presenting today, we show that we are a credible partner, but also how successful Serbia actually is in European integration,” said Minister of European Integration Tanja Miščević.

“We have learned a lot, we know how to write projects and get funds and investors, and in order to attract even more significant funds, we have to work on the implementation of cohesion policy. This week, the Ministry of European Integration started the procedure of adopting the Law on Cohesion Policy at the Government session. This is our preparation for the use of funds from structural funds”, the minister added.

As she pointed out, this is also important because of the role and importance of local self-governments in the transformation of the state, which is great, and that we all need to prepare to strengthen our capacities in order to be successful in implementing projects, concluding that only in partnership with the European Union can we come to even better results in the development of our country.

“I am pleased to be present today at the presentation of 18 new projects that will be implemented with significant support from the European Union of over 9.6 million euros. Through such initiatives, it can be seen in action how the support of the European Union contributes to a better life and standard of living of the citizens of Serbia. I am glad that we will help the development of tourism in Zaječar and Šumadija districts, waste management in Leskovac and Novi Pazar, and social inclusion in Šabac and improvement of education in Pirot district”,  said Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret.

As he explained, through the EU PRO Plus programme, an integral territorial approach to development, adapted to the context in Serbia, was applied, which first led to the development of 12 territorial strategies, which then defined strategic projects for certain territories whose realisation is supported by the EU.

Ambassador thanked the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for piloting this initiative through the EU PRO Plus programme and announced that the EU will continue to support integrated territorial development in Serbia through a new programme that should be signed by the end of the year and which is to be implemented by the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities with the support of UNOPS.

Head of Programme of the UNOPS Office in Serbia, Marko Vujačić, thanked the Delegation of the European Union and the Ministry of European Integration for their support and guidance in the implementation of this initiative and added: “UNOPS had the honour to cooperate with local self-governments, regional development agencies and numerous stakeholders to ensure that these projects are well prepared and ready for successful implementation. Our role was to facilitate the development process, ensure transparency, efficiency and inclusiveness, and we remain dedicated to this important task in the future as well.”

Nenad Popović, director of the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje, presented a project that will improve tourism in the entire Šumadijski district while preserving and promoting cultural and historical heritage. With EU support of one million Euros, the visitor and educational centre “Risovača Cave” will be built in Arandjelovac, the reconstruction of the King’s winery in Topola will be completed, the Petrovi Dvori complex in Višec near Rača and the cultural centre in Knić will be renovated. “With the European Union support to the development of this territory, tourism potential will be activated, the number of tourists will increase, thus enhancing the local economy,” said Popović.

The projects were selected through a public call conducted by the EU PRO Plus programme, which received 22 applications, and after administrative and technical evaluation and field visits, a total of 18 projects were recommended for support. With significant support from the EU, the local self-governments also participate in the financing of projects with around 3,2 million Euros. The results of the Public Call are available on the EU PRO Plus website: Results of the Public call for implementation of integrated projects deriving from the twelve territorial strategies supported by EU PRO Plus.