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Joksimović and Giaufret: Another 10 million for recovery of 99 municipalities

December 09 2021 | Београд

Joksimović and Giaufret: Another 10 million for recovery of 99 municipalities

Today, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret have signed an agreement on additional assistance in the amount of EUR 10 million intended for the recovery of 99 underdeveloped municipalities in Serbia from the effects of the pandemic. Ambassador Giaufret has assessed that the agreement confirms that the EU remains committed to providing support to Serbia.

The funds are intended for the EU PRO Plus project and are only part of the EUR 30 million that will be allocated for strengthening the resilience of local self-governments to the effects of the pandemic, noted Joksimović.

According to her, the agreement is another piece of good news in addition to the decision on the opening of Cluster 4 at the Intergovernmental Conference which is scheduled for 14 December.

She has invited all local self-governments, regional development agencies and the non-governmental sector to prepare projects and use those funds with the aim of strengthening small and medium-sized companies, providing better employment opportunities for less employable and vulnerable groups, addressing environmental problems, improving gender equality and ensuring investments.

“We strive to employ all capacities and to give everyone a chance to contribute not only to the reforms but also to their personal progress, better living standard, and thus to their local community and the entire country. And European integration is the right instrument for achieving such results”, said Minister Joksimović, adding that the goal of the EU PRO Plus programme is to reach every citizen no matter where they live.

The Minister believes that, owing to the previous programmes implemented in cooperation with the EU, the majority of those 99 municipalities have already entered a new category and are no longer the most underdeveloped municipalities.

“I believe, I am convinced, and we will conduct an analysis, that most of those municipalities have already entered a higher category and can now be classified as moderately developed municipalities. I would really like us to conduct that analysis and see how much we have contributed to the improvement of citizens’ life in those local self-governments with the implementation of those projects”, stated Joksimović.

Giaufret has said that the EU remains Serbia’s partner in the European integration process and that the Intergovernmental Conference will confirm Serbia’s progress in that process.

The additional EUR 10 million will be used to address important issues at the local level, which needs additional support, said the Ambassador, recalling that Serbian economy has responded well to the challenging circumstances of the pandemic, but that municipalities need help in tackling the effects that are to come.

According to him, the EUR 10 million addition to the original Programme budget of EUR 30 million is an excellent example of the European Commission’s agility and strong partnership between the EU Delegation and the Ministry of European Integration which join forces to respond to the priority needs of Serbia.

“We are working with 99 municipalities across Serbia, which we have already supported with more than EUR 30 million, in cooperation with the Ministry and our partner UNOPS, and the additional 10 million will be able to used for infrastructure, social services and balanced economic development”, added Giaufret.

Joksimović and the Ambassador have announced three public calls within the EU PRO Plus programme, in the total amount of EUR 4.5 million, which will support the development of local infrastructure, competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, and the improvement of social services in 99 local self-governments in two regions – Šumadija and Western Serbia, and Southern and Eastern Serbia.

Giaufret has emphasised that the goal of the project is a balance economic development of Serbia.

Source: Tanjug