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J. Joksimović: Internet access – right of the new generation

January 27 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Internet access – right of the new generation

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said that the project of introducing broadband internet in rural areas of Serbia, which Serbia proposed for the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, is significant for the overall inclusive growth of Serbia in the future and convergence with European economies and sources of new growth.

Upon signing the agreement, she said that every student living and going to school in any part of Serbia will thus enjoy the new right to internet access, which will allow them to have access to information, digital education and knowledge and to become competitive on the European and global market. She has noted that it will also bring them a new form of social inclusion which is essential for young people.

Joksimović has added that the signing of this agreement was the best way to celebrate Saint Sava’s Day – the School Day.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate the day of the first Serbian diplomate and educator, who paved the way of Serbian spirituality, as well as modernity”, said Joksimović.

She has stressed that now we have the opportunity to do differently and in the spirit of our times what Saint Sava did in the ways available in his time, and that is to network Serbia, broaden our horizons, educate our children, using the means that are now available, so as to improve the quality of life.

“All these years, we have been striving to employ new ways that mark the beginning of a new future to network, connect and strengthen Serbia, primarily school-age children”, stated Joksimović.

She has recalled that the total value of the project is EUR 76 million, which Serbia proposed last summer as part of project preparations for the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans within which the EU allocated considerable funds.

“As the coordinator for programming EU-financed projects, I wholeheartedly accepted to propose this project, among others, which was met with a good response from the EU and EBRD”, noted Joksimović.

“That is why today we have signed a favourable loan with EBRD worth EUR 1.7 million for the preparation of the project technical documentation, so that we could prepare the entire project and, in the following years, withdraw the full grant from the Economic and Investment Plan for this project worth EUR 76 million.”

She has stated that 2020 proved to be a turning point, adding that Serbia was ready and that it adapted to the new ways of communication, learning and living in the circumstances brought on by the pandemic.

She has stressed that, in all the previous years and during the preparation of the national investment project “Serbia 2025”, Serbia has worked on development policies and instruments which are recognised in the EU and important for the economic recovery.

“None of this is possible without internet access for all social categories, especially youth”, said Joksimović. She has also conveyed that Serbia has been diligent in recognising proper development instruments and new leading EU policies comprised within six clusters, where cluster 3 is among the key ones, i.e. competitiveness, inclusive growth and social inclusion.

“Economic recovery engages all resources and capacities”, said Joksimović, adding that economic recovery also includes the creation of new types of jobs in accordance with modern technologies, as Serbia’s development potential.

The project of introducing broadband internet is also important with regard to cluster 4, which is related to digital connectivity and Green Deal, and cluster 5, dedicated to resources and development of agricultural policies.

“Through this project, we have therefore touched upon the goals of development policies from three clusters. We have ventured into this ready, prepared and curious about everything new, so as not to end up as losers but as victors of these changes”, said Joksimović.

She has thanked Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matić, the Cabinet of Ana Brnabić, and partners from the EU for the support they have shown for this project.

Source: Tanjug