J. Joksimović: Through the European integration, every citizen in Serbia should feel progress
April 25 2019 | Belgrade
The Minister of European Integration, Jadranka Joksimović, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, Stevica Deđanski, the Mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Radojičić, and the Director of the Regional Agency for Development and European Integration Belgrade, Snežana Radinović, have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the implementation of energy rehabilitation projects in four public buildings in Belgrade.
Joksimović has stated that the project ‘Thermal Rehabilitation of Public Buildings - Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the City of Belgrade’ includes the Emergency Centre, Students’ Polyclinic, Infirmary and the City Library, which she cited as the institutions of national importance.
According to her, the concept of energy efficiency is one of the best ways to get closer to the topic of sustainable development and circular economy that is being discussed around the world, and it can also be kickstarted in a concrete way with these projects in Belgrade.
"Energy efficiency does not only mean the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which is very important as there will be between 30 and 40 percent less carbon dioxide emissions – which is one of the objectives of responsible environmental policy, but it will also bring about concrete savings for these institutions in terms of electricity consumption, the prices they will be paying for the consumption of electricity and heating," Joksimović has said.
She has added that, when some buildings cannot be reconstructed from other resources, energy efficiency can be one of the ways to enable a part of the reconstruction of buildings and facilities.
She has assessed this as an added value of this project, saying that, in this way, not only will the energy efficiency be achieved, but also the partial reconstruction of facilities, the importance of which should not be particularly stressed.
According to her, the total value of the project is EUR 16 million, of which EUR 11 million are from the EU pre-accession funds, while EUR 5 million will be acquired through a favourable loan that the City of Belgrade will get from the EBRD.
"These are concrete things that we are currently doing and that we will intensify in the years to come, so that every citizen, in every part of the territory of Serbia, would feel progress through the process of European integration," the Minister has said.
She has said that she is very happy and content that today the first steps are being made in the realisation of an idea she had three years ago.
According to her, the pre-accession funds, which Serbia is receiving and using for balanced regional development, have always been directed to the most underdeveloped areas, where there was a need to improve capacities and local governments, as well as to visible projects of local municipal infrastructure.
Due to this, Belgrade, as a developed or the most developed city, has thus far remained out of the focus of pre-accession funds.
Joksimović has said that she came up with the idea of using the pre-accession funds in Belgrade when she could not answer the question raised by her colleagues from the European Commission about projects they could see in Belgrade, adding that she then began to think about what could be done as a project that would primarily be visible to the citizens and serve to their benefit.
"And this had to concern those segments where we as a country have to show our commitment, which is healthcare, students, youth and culture. These are the foundations of a healthy development of a country and the categories that we have to recognize and work on by utilizing all possible resources, as well as to use our candidate status to develop these particular areas," Joksimović has said, adding that the Ministry of European Integration has not supported the project in Belgrade, but has actually designed it.
Mayor of the City of Belgrade Zoran Radojičić has said that the project ‘Thermal Rehabilitation of Public Buildings - Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the City of Belgrade’ is the first project that the city has received from the IPA funds of the EU, i.e. that it is the first time the Serbian capital has received direct EU support.
According to him, 2019 is the year of summarizing and collecting results, and Belgrade can boast that 2018 saw the beginning of the implementation of the first European project for afforestation of urban areas, which is financed from the EU's Danube Transnational Programme.
"The City of Belgrade is also a partner in the "Clever Cities" project within the HORIZON 2020 Programme of the EU. Until 2018, Belgrade had never used European funds, and I am pleased that today we can boast that we are participating in several projects financed from EU funds, and certainly the most important one is the project that we have signed here today," Radojičić has said, adding that the project allows for the reconstruction and thermal rehabilitation of city institutions that are vital for the functioning of the city.
As he has said, these are primarily the Emergency Centre, which has never been reconstructed since it was built, Students’ Polyclinic and Infirmary, as well as the building of the City Library which, as one of the cultural monuments of the capital, is no less significant.
"The City of Belgrade is a capital city with over a million residents, and it will finally, after 60 years, get an Emergency Centre built according to European standards that will be able to respond to all citizens' needs," Radojičić has said.
As regards the Students’ Polyclinic and Infirmary, Radojičić has said that the goal of the project is to increase the energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption, while other, numerous improvements in both facilities are planned as well.
"This is a pilot project related to energy efficiency, but we will not stop there. The possibility of continuing the realisation of this project involving other city facilities, in cooperation with the Ministry of European Integration and the EU Delegation, is already being considered, and the focus will be not only on healthcare facilities, but also on institutions for social protection," Radojičić has said.
He has added that the project ‘Thermal Rehabilitation of Public Buildings’ will significantly contribute to energy savings and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and has stated that the value of the project is EUR 16 million, of which EUR 11 million is provided by the EU, while EUR 5 million will be acquired through a loan that the City of Belgrade will get from the EBRD.
Radinović has said that the signing of the Memorandum does not mark the end, but a happy beginning, and has stressed that all who worked on this project are happy and rejoice the fact that was implemented and completed on time, which allows for immediate commencement of the reconstruction project upon the arrival of funds.
"The facilities must be functional in order for the citizens to have normal living conditions," Radinović has said, adding that these are really facilities that have not been reconstructed for 60, 70 years.
Deđanski has said that the Ministry of Mining and Energy has recognised energy efficiency as a new source of energy, and has added that, in the previous period, they have worked on the legal framework that will be in line with EU standards, and on raising citizens’ awareness about the importance of energy efficiency.