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J. Joksimović: EU PRO contributed to equal territorial development

June 23 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: EU PRO contributed to equal territorial development

The EU PRO Programme is one of the important projects demonstrating the synergy of goals and good results of the Government of Serbia and the EU, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said today, mentioning that projects such as this one are significant for realisation of equal territorial development and reduced migration to cities from countryside.

At the press conference on the occasion of the presentation of project results and opening of virtual fair of the development programme EU PRO – “Keep up with Europe”, Joksimović has said that European integration does not include only the rule of law and political criteria, but also what is done in the framework of the EU PRO programme and what brings the benefits to the citizens in all parts of our country.

“All actors at the local level, business sector, women entrepreneurship, vulnerable groups in terms of employment, as well as civil sector, gained benefits from this programme that we have implemented in 99 local self-governments across the country”, Joksimović has said.

She has added that with the help of this programme business environment in local self-governments has been upgraded, also fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and self-employment.

Also, as she has said, the EU PRO Programme helped realise one of the most important goals of European integration - reduction of regional inequality and decrease of internal migration to cities from countryside.

“We have managed to secure a balanced territorial development, which is one of the most important common policies of the EU, such as the cohesion policy”, she has said.

Mentioning that late last night she returned from Luxemburg where she had participated at the Intergovernmental Conference, where it was agreed on the opening of cluster 1 on the rule of law, Joksimović has expressed satisfaction that immediately after the political Intergovernmental Conference this conference was held demonstrating that EU integration represents a living process that reaches every citizen.

“This is a goal and the greatest value of the EU integration process”, Joksimović has emphasised, adding that this shows the process is owned by everyone, that it is useful and difficult, but that every citizen of Serbia benefits from it.

Joksimović has mentioned that the EU PRO Programme, as one of the most important projects, has demonstrated that we as a society, but also local self-governments, individuals, non-governmental sector, academic, business sector, have grasped and understood all the possibilities available, that we have been increasing the capacities, which means, as she has explained, learning about all necessary new procedures.

She has announced that soon we will start with the realisation of the EU PRO Plus Programme and invited everyone who participated in the EU PRO project to be vigilant and monitor the calls for proposals since additional funds will be allocated in the framework of a new project.“We are successfully finalising this with good results and we are preparing for EU PRO Plus which will commence soon. So far we have demonstrated that we were able to manage the pre-accession funds”, Joksimović has said.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, has said that with the help of this project, as regards European integration, things have moved outside of Belgrade and attention has been given to the rural areas of our country.

In his words, in three and a half years, 341 projects have been realised, related to three goals - working on improving economy, work with local self-governments and social inclusion.

He has emphasised that it is important that 580 new jobs have been created in the framework of the EU PRO, and almost half of them were assigned to women from rural areas.

As far as working with municipalities is concerned, Fabrizi has said that 55 municipalities were included, and assistance has been provided for small entities to get to the development of economy and economics in local self-governments.

Fabrizi has mentioned that modern economy concept means that no one has been left behind adding that a third goal has been also achieved - social inclusion, which has been mostly done through education.

“Local communities have an important role, Serbian economy is being structured around Corridor 10, but we have to move from there and introduce economics into rural areas, so it would function not only in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš”, Fabrizi has said.

He has also reminded that the medical material for joint fight against coronavirus has been secured through the EU PRO Programme and reallocation of 10 per cent of regional funds.

Head of the UNOPS Office in Serbia Michaela Telatin has emphasised close cooperation with the local self-governments in the areas of health, education and infrastructure during the programme.

“We have tangibly contributed to social and economic development of the country, identifying key elements required to create a favourable economic environment”, Telatin has said.

In the framework of the EU PRO Programme, the Union has allocated EUR 25 million, which were invested in economic and social development for the benefit of 99 local self-governments in our country.

Source: Tanjug