The European Union will allocate EUR9.6 million for the implementation of 77 new infrastructure projects through the EU PRO development programme, announced the members of the steering committee at a meeting in Belgrade. The projects will contribute to new investments and job creation with the final goal of improving the quality of people’s lives in 99 local self-governments in Serbia.

The approved support includes funding for 37 local infrastructure projects, with a total value of EUR6.1 million, EUR4.5 million of which is secured by the EU for the (re)construction of public buildings, educational, healthcare and social protection institutions, sports and cultural centres as well as for municipal infrastructure improvement. The European Union will thus directly contribute to an enhanced quality of life of people living in two regions covered by the programme: the region of Šumadija and Western Serbia and the region of Southern and Eastern Serbia. Co-financing from local self-governments will amount to EUR1.6 million.

“The Government of Serbia has been making steady efforts to improve conditions for sustainable economic and social development of the country. The European Union will therefore support projects in less developed and underdeveloped local self-governments in Serbia with a view to promoting sustainable regional development and bringing local actors closer to opportunities offered by European programmes and funds,” said Jadranka Joksimovic, the Minister of European Integration.

The steering committee also approved funding for nine projects aimed at improving business infrastructure. These cover investments in infrastructure of industrial zones and further infrastructure enhancement in tourism. Through these projects, the European Union will invest EUR4.5 million, thus contributing to creating business-friendly environment. Local self-governments will co-fund the projects with EUR905,392.

“The European Union supports a more balanced development of Serbia and invests money in projects focused on increasing the economic growth of local communities and improving the standard of living for all citizens. The main goal of the approved projects is to attract investments, create jobs and improve public infrastructure that brings direct benefits to local population,” said the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi.

In close cooperation with the Government of Serbia, the EU will also support the local self-governments in their efforts to enhance investment potential through development of project-technical documentation. Twelve projects supported by the EU with EUR274,695 will create technical conditions for further infrastructural enhancement of industrial zones, and development of technological parks, business incubators and congressional centres.

The European Union will also fund the development of detailed regulation plans in 19 towns and municipalities covered by the EU PRO programme with EUR255.274. Planning documentation covers areas with a potential to generate economic activity, mainly Greenfield and brownfield sites, tourist sites and protected cultural and natural assets.

“There are many projects ahead and I would like to encourage local self-governments to take on both the implementation of the approved projects and preparation of new ones in line with the needs of local population and development priorities,” said Graeme Tyndall, EU PRO Programme Manager.

The steering committee also approved the criteria for the Public Call for the Introduction and Development of Geographic Information Systems and the Call for Proposals for the provision of grants to civil society organisations (CSOs) with a view to enhancing social cohesion in multi-ethnic municipalities in the regions of Sumadija and Western Serbia and Southern and Eastern Serbia. The two calls will be launched in October 2018.

The European Union supports activities of the EU PRO, a programme aimed at promoting a more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia, with a total of EUR25 million. The programme seeks to improve competitiveness of micro and small enterprises and the business environment and to advance social cohesion in 99 local self-governments in two Serbian regions: Sumadija and Western Serbia, and Southern and Eastern Serbia. All activities on the ground are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).