From the 2016 IPA Programme, the European Union is financing the implementation of the EU PRO project in the amount of EUR 25 million, with the main goal of contributing to the balanced socio-economic development of the underdeveloped parts of Serbia. Here, the focus is on two regions: Western Serbia and Šumadija and Eastern and Southern Serbia - with a total of 99 cities and municipalities.
Within the first component of the project, support is provided for improving the competitiveness of newly-formed or existing enterprises and increasing their productivity through procuring equipment and providing additional/supporting services. Within this component, support is also provided to organizations that provide support to entrepreneurs to improve their capacities to support the business sector.
The second component focuses on the infrastructure development of local self-governments through the allocation of funds intended for the preparation of planning and project-technical documentation, and the reconstruction/construction of business areas that should attract investors. For the purpose of ensuring better planning and management of development resources, the introduction/development of the GIS system (Geographic Information System) and the procurement of the appropriate equipment will also be supported with the funds from the Programme.
The third component focuses on the development of social infrastructure, i.e. the reconstruction/construction of schools, kindergartens, health centres etc., as well as on the projects that contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations at the local level.
The projects are selected on the basis of a call for proposals, which means that final beneficiaries (small and medium-sized enterprises, local self-governments, regional development agencies, civil society organizations, etc.) will nominate their projects of which, through the evaluation and selection process, a small number will be selected − on which the final decision will be made by the Steering Committee.
Responsibility for the implementation of the project is borne by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which was selected as the implementing partner in a competition organized by the EU Delegation to Serbia.
The Programme will be launched in the first quarter of 2018.