J. Joksimović: Through European integration we are implementing sustainable development objectives and improving citizens’ quality of life

26. July 2018. | Novi Sad

J. Joksimović: Through European integration we are implementing sustainable development objectives and improving citizens’ quality of life

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and Vice President of the Government of Vojvodina Đorđe Milićević have opened today a conference presenting the project ‘Revitalisation of the Begej canal navigation infrastructure’ that is financed from the INTERREG - IPA Romania-Serbia Cross-border Cooperation Programme.

The total value of the project is around EUR 14 million, of which almost EUR 12 million in grants has been provided by the European Union. The project is planned to be completed by August 2021.

Minister Joksimović has said that today is a good day for Serbian citizens to understand why the European integration process is important and what its benefits are, adding that it is not only about money, which is important, especially if it is in the form of grants as in the case of Serbia which is a candidate, but it is not the most important thing.
“What is most important is that we identify our needs, particularly at the local level, recognise our potentials, identify the substance of our future sustainable development, both regional and overall, and not constantly talk about how insufficiently developed we are and how the central government does not pay enough attention to a certain region or local government”, said Joksimović.

Stating that in addition to political conditions, the essence of European integration includes the project of sustainable development, Joksimović has said that the goal is for Serbia to use everything from the association process that can help sustainable development, so that every citizen in every part of Serbia would feel concrete progress in the quality of life.

She has added that new employment and stable macroeconomic situation are also important in order to talk about a better life, emphasising that the quality of life is also measured by the availability of everything that constitutes objectives of sustainable development, and that includes the availability of clean drinking water and good sanitary and utility infrastructure.
“In that sense, these projects financed from EU grants send us the best message of why we are in the process of European integration and how we, like the others who accessed the EU before us, can and must use these possibilities to the benefit of our citizens”, said the Minister, adding that that is an obligation and that there is no compromising in that regard, because local governments - which will be the main carriers of reforms in the future - must now practice and learn how to use the potentials the country has.
“In every town in Serbia, we have unused potentials. We must first learn to recognise what our potentials are, and then show where the available money is, and not to seek it from the budget alone”, stated Joksimović.

Speaking about the project, Joksimović has recalled that Serbia has cross-border cooperation projects with Bulgaria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia, adding that this is the second out of 32 strategic projects carried out within cross-border cooperation with Romania.

She has said that, within cooperation with Romania, there is EUR 88 million in grants available in the period 2014-2020 for projects in border areas, underlining that this project is one of the two strategic projects carried out within cross-border cooperation.

She has recalled that the first project with Romania was the Regional Centre for the Prevention, Early Detection and Control of Malignant Diseases established in the Požarevac General Hospital worth EUR 12 million.
“This is the second strategic project within this cross-border cooperation, and that is the revitalisation of the Begej aimed at enabling it to become part of the sustainable development potential of this part of Vojvodina. The works will include the construction of two canal locks, a 40-kilometre bike path from Serbia to Romania and the drainage of the Begej riverbed. Therefore, in four years, we will make the Begej a navigable river again, which will be used for transport in line with environmentally acceptable standards and provide a possibility to connect people and develop sustainable ecotourism”, said Joksimović.

Vice President of the Government of Vojvodina Đorđe Milićević has stated that, owing to this project, the Begej will once again become navigable after 60 years, adding that the project also provides for the construction of 40 kilometres of bike paths.
“One important segment of the work of the Provincial Government is cross-border cooperation. In the past two years, this Government has in this way ensured the financing of 21 projects in the total value of EUR 45 million. Given that our main goal is the accelerated development of Vojvodina within the fast economic growth of Serbia, I believe that this is a very important instrument that helps achieve this goal”, said Milićević.

He has added that, together with the Government of Serbia, they will continue to work on making the number of projects financed in this way greater, both in the economic and quantitative sense, which is important not only for Serbia as a whole, but also for local governments.

The project partners are the Banat River Basin Administration from Romania, the Timis County Council from Romania, the Provincial Secretariat for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government from Serbia and Public Water Management Company ‘Vode Vojvodine’.

Zoran Gregorović from ‘Vode Vojvodine’ has said that it is extremely important that the Begej will once again become navigable, because this will ensure cross-border cooperation in tourism and transport, improve infrastructure and create conditions for a better quality of life in that entire region.

Adrian Luput from the Timis County Council from Romania has said that, together with other project partners, they want to revitalise the Begej, adding that he hopes that the end of 2021 will see the navigation of the first ship from Zrenjanin to Timisoara and vice versa.

Source: Tanjug

 

 

 

 

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