The Office of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (the AP Vojvodina), i.e. Vojvodina European Office, situated in the building of the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, has been established to present, promote and increase the economic, scientific, cultural, educational and tourist capacities of the AP Vojvodina, as well as to learn about the policies of the European Union (EU) brought in Brussels and referring to regional authorities.
The AP Vojvodina has been recognised in Europe as a business environment offering a number of incentives for successful business activities, as well as a region with excellent universities and research institutes. According to fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2014/2015, Vojvodina ranked first place in the Cost Effectiveness category for mid-sized European regions out of 54 ones, fourth place in the same category for overall European regions, as well as fourth place in the FDI Strategy category for Southern European regions, whereas according to fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2016/2017, Vojvodina ranked seventh place in the FDI Strategy category out of 148 European regions.
The cultural and natural diversity of the AP Vojvodina contributes to its image outside the Republic of Serbia. The Vojvodina European Office in Brussels presents the AP Vojvodina as a successful multicultural European region in the Republic of Serbia, where high standards are applied in terms of the protection of the rights of national minorities – national communities. Vojvodina has a population exceeding two million people and there are 26 national communities and six languages in official use, which according to the number of official languages, ranks second place in Europe after the European Parliament. With 20.000 km2 of agricultural land, the share of AP Vojvodina in the state’s GDP is over 27%, and in the total export around 40%.
In Europe, regions, cities and municipalities are involved in the creation of the majority of EU policies. The subnational level of authorities in the EU is responsible for one-third of public expenditure (ca. 2000 billion euros per year) and two-third of public investments (ca. 200 billion euros), whereby they are often made in compliance with the EU regulations.
The AP Vojvodina has a developed institutional system involving the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina with 120 deputies, Provincial Government, provincial secretariats and other institutions supporting their work. In additions, there are a lot of institutions established by the AP Vojvodina, whose competencies fall within the areas of relevance to the province. The competences of the province involve the following domains: interregional cooperation; spatial planning, regional development and construction of buildings; agriculture; water management; forestry; hunting and fishery; tourism, catering industry, spas and health resorts; environmental protection; industry and craftsmanship; road, river and railway transport; organisation of fairs and other economic events; education; sports; culture; health care and social protection; public information at the provincial level; science and technological development; employment; economy and privatisation; mining and energy; and local self-government.
The Vojvodina European Office has been established with the aim of allowing a two-way communication with the regions present in Brussels and the EU institutions regulating the activities of regional authorities in Europe.
The main goal of the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels is to provide assistance to the provincial institutions in the policy creation of AP Vojvodina, in compliance with the EU principles and practice.
At the early stage of EU integration, the provincial administration should be familiar with the EU policies implemented on the regional level, which in compliance with the Law on Establishing the Competences of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and other positive legal regulations, will allow the Republic of Serbia, once an EU member state, direct participation in the EU decision-making within the established EU institutions. Therefore, it is important to maintain contact and communication with the key decision-makers and representatives of regional partners.
In this respect, the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels has the following tasks:
In addition, the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels shall maintain contacts with the organisations gathering regions, such the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Assembly of European Regions (AER), moreover, think-thank organisations and other international ones.
In cooperation with the CoR, the EU 2020 Strategy, has been translated into the Serbian language. The Strategy has served as a model for the AP Vojvodina Development Programme 2014-2020 and the accompanying Action Plan.
The 14th edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), organised by the Committee of the Regions and DG Regio, was held under the slogan “Regions and cities for sustainable and inclusive growth” in Brussels from 10th to 13th October 2016. The programme was structured around three thematic priorities: 1. Sustained and sustainable economic growth; 2. Inclusive economic growth; 3. Making ESI Funds simpler.
Workshop “Youth Entrepreneurship: the key to boost competitiveness and growth in the regions“
Within the EWRC 2016, AP Vojvodina was, through the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina – Vojvodina European Office in Brussels, a part of the regional partnership “Entrepreneurship Education for Economical Growth” with the following regions: Umbria Region (Italy), Northern Ireland (UK), Podlaskie Region and Swietokrzyskie Region (Poland), Prešov Region (Slovakia), Karlovac County and Varaždin County (Croatia), and participated at the workshop “Youth Entrepreneurship: the key to boost competitiveness and growth in the regions” held at the Northern Ireland Executive Office on 11th October 2016.
The speakers at the workshop were European and regional experts, involving Ivan Stefanec, Member of the European Parliament, whereas the first panellists addressing “Strategic approach to youth and vocational education” were Anita Vella, Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate-General form Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and Simone Baldassarri, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission. On behalf of the partner regions, the speakers were Anna Augustyn, Chief Specialist, Association of Bialystok City Functional Area; Frankie McCourt, Invest NI; Maja Lehman, Advisor for regional development at Varaždin County Development Agency and Grzegorz Orawiec, Director of the Regional Policy Department, Marshal Office of the Swietokrzyskie Region. The speaker at Panel 2 “Best practice in supporting entrepreneurs” was Guy Lejeune, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. Regional experiences were presented by Anna Ascani, Head of European Affairs Department of the Umbria Region; Marijana Maksimović, Deputy Director, Guarantee Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina; Slavomír Kožár, Director of the Secondary Technical School of Electrical Engineering in Prešov; Maja Lehman, Advisor for Regional Development at Varaždin County Development Agency; and Biserka Marčinko, School of Economics and Tourism in Karlovac County. The moderator was Caroline Jenner, Chief executive officer at JA Europe, Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.5 million students in 39 countries in 2015.
The aim of the debate was to showcase the impact of entrepreneurial education and training to support growth and business creation. The event provided insights into available instruments and programs and showcased its impact on business creation and growth through inspiring testimonials from alumni entrepreneurs. It was a great opportunity for regional authorities to discuss about removal of existing administrative barriers and supporting entrepreneurs in crucial phases of the business lifecycle. It was also a field to share regions’ most successful practices in this area and to show innovative strategic approach to that matter, by the regional authorities. The aim of the event was to establish a dialogue between political decision-makers and stakeholders and explored how EU regions and cities can move further ahead in promoting inclusive entrepreneurship, including changes of educational methodology on all levels towards the real needs of the regional markets, start-ups support initiatives, youth awareness initiatives etc. The best practices showed how the abilities and attitudes acquired by young people will help them not only to take charge of their own lives and to influence their own futures but also to play an active role as citizens of Europe.
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels – Experience Vojvodina Reception
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels, the Experience Vojvodina Reception was held at the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union on 12th October 2016, when the capacities of Vojvodina were presented to other European regions and cities, as well as investors interested in investing in Vojvodina. It was jointly organised by the Provincial Government, Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Vojvodina Investment Promotion (VIP) and European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. The participants at the event were addressed by Ana Hrustanović, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the EU; Igor Mirović, President of the Provincial Government; István Pásztor, President of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina; and Miloš Vučević, Mayor of Novi Sad.
The event was also a Side event of the EWRC 2016.
In addition, during the EWRC 2016, with the support of the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels, the delegation of AP Vojvodina had a number of meetings with the officials of EU institutions, among whom was Eduard Kukan, EMP and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, and Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director of the Western Balkans department, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), as well as a number of bilateral meetings with the representatives of several European regions, such as the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen, Austrian state of Styria and Osijek-Baranja County of Croatia.
The Vojvodina delegation presented to the regional representatives the priorities of the Provincial Government related to an intensified economic development, agricultural development and investment targeted at lesser developed municipalities of Vojvodina, and according to feedback received, those were areas where the cooperation could be enhanced. The opportunities for student exchange as a part of their training were also discussed at all meetings. The participants in the meetings agreed that the most important segment that made Vojvodina a good example in the region, as well as in Europe, was the approach toward national minorities and fostering a high-level of multi-ethnicity.
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016 – Proceedings
The 13th edition of the OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities, organised by the Committee of the Regions and DG Regio, was held under the slogan “Europe's regions and cities: partners for investment and growth” in Brussels from 12th to 15th October 2015, gathering over 5,800 participants. The programme was structured around three thematic priorities: (1) Modernising Europe: The regions in the energy Union and the single digital market; (2) Regions open for business: SME development, innovation and job creation; (3) Places and spaces: Urban and rural development; urban-rural integration.
Workshop “Responsible Research and Innovation as a Part of Regional Innovation Eco-system”
Within the OPEN DAYS 2015, AP Vojvodina was, through the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, a part of the consortium “Regions 4 Innovation” with the following regions: Lodzkie Region (Poland, Lead Partner), Extremadura and Andalusia (Spain), Alentejo and Algarve (Portugal), West Slovenia (Slovenia), Osijek-Baranja County (Croatia), Vysocina Region (Czech Republic) and East Wales (UK), and participated at the workshop “Responsible Research and Innovation as a Part of Regional Innovation Eco-system” at the Lodzkie House on 13th October 2015.
The workshop was organised within the 'Regions open for business' category and aimed at universities, institutions of higher education, innovation centres, civil society organisations (CSOs), business and policy-makers at all levels. After the plenary session, in which the participants comprised representatives of the European Commission and other experts, the topic of discussion of the thematic workshop was improvement of regional innovation capacities. The objective of the workshop was to promote research and innovation as sources of renewed growth and jobs necessary to tackle the grand societal challenges. Aligning research and innovation to the values, needs and expectations of society was fundamental towards the European Union agenda for jobs, growth, with outcomes contributing to long-term prosperity and well-being of citizens. The workshop provided room to exchange knowledge and good practices on how regions can ensure that research and innovation deliver smart, inclusive and sustainable solutions to our societal challenges, with the goal of supporting research and innovation. The participants agreed that responsible research and innovation (RRI) promoted shared values between European research and industry towards products and services and that there were three main reasons why science and society had to work hand in hand. Firstly, technology acceptance should not be pursued by means of solely economic sustainability. Secondly, diversity in research and innovation was vital for enhancing creativity and improving scientific quality. Thirdly, early and continuous engagement of all stakeholders was essential for sustainable, desirable and acceptable innovation. Partner regions raised a discussion on the role of regional and local authorities in fostering innovative capacities of regions.
The speakers at the workshop were renowned experts in several fields, such as Prof. Elżbieta Jung Ph.D., Vice-Dean for Research, Faculty of Philosophy and History, University of Łódź, Dr. Philippe Galiay, DG Research and Innovation, Dr Maurizio Salvi, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Zbigniew Matyjas
Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Lodz, Prof. Martin Čopić Ph.D., Full professor of physics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana. On behalf of AP Vojvodina, the speaker at the workshop was Prof. Dr. Vladimir Crnojević, Professor at the University of Novi Sad, Head of Department for Power, Electronics and Communications and founder and director of BioSense Institute.
Round Table “Understanding Vojvodina“
The round table “Understanding Vojvodina“, organised by the European Parliament, under the auspices of Eduard Kukan, Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, Vojvodina Slovak Cultural Institute, in cooperation with the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, was held at the European Parliament on 13th October 2015.
The mediator of the round table was Franc Bogovič, MEP, whereas the other participants in the discussion were Ivan Jakovčić and Andor Deli, MEPs, and a number of other guests, who came to attend the presentation of the cultural institutes of Vojvodina national communities. The participants of the round table were greeted by Bojan Pajtić SJD, Presidents of the Provincial Government, and the opening remarks were given by Slaviša Grujić, Provincial Secretary for Culture and Public Information. The presentation was also attended by Branislav Bugarski, Provincial Secretary for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-government, and Vladimir Pavlov, Provincial Secretary for Science and Technological Development.
The goal of presenting Vojvodina at the round table was to show the multiculturalism of Vojvodina, through the prism of preservation and enhancement, as well as permeation of cultural heritage and creativity of 20 nations residing there, by presenting the work of six professional cultural institutions of Serbs, being the majority population, and traditional minority communities of Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Ruthenians and Croats, whose language and script were officially used in AP Vojvodina. The representatives of the Cultural Institutes, of Vojvodina Croats, Tomislav Žigmanov, of Vojvodina Hungarians, Martina Gondi, of Vojvodina Romanians, Todor Ursu, of Vojvodina Ruthenians, Sergej Tamaš, of Vojvodina Slovaks, Milina Sklabinski presented the activities and work of their institutes talking about the plans and projects being planned, as well as about the problems they faced. The activities of the Vojvodina Institute for Culture were presented by Dragan Ilić, Project Manager and Officer for Interregional Cooperation.
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels – exhibition of placards and publications, representing the multicultural heritage and creativity in AP Vojvodina
Marking Vojvodina Day in Brussels, the exhibition “OBLIQUE STRATEGIES - Architecture in Vojvodina at the beginning of the 21st century”, comprising placards of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, publications of the cultural institutes of Vojvodina national minorities and Vojvodina Institute for Culture, accompanied by the presentation of a short film on the topic, representing the multicultural heritage and creativity in AP Vojvodina, as well as a performance, i.e. solo-viola improvisation based on Vojvodina ethno and folk heritage by Szilárd Mezei, was opened at the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union on 14th October 2015. It was jointly organised by the Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, cultural institutes of Vojvodina national minorities, Vojvodina Institute for Culture and European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, with the aim of presenting the multiculturalism of Vojvodina in Brussels through the activities of the cultural institutes of Vojvodina Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks, Ruthenians and Romanians and of the Vojvodina Institute for Culture.
The participants at the event were addressed by Bojan Pajtić SJD, President of the Provincial Government, Slaviša Grujić, Provincial Secretary for Culture and Public Information, and Predrag Novikov, Officer at the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels.
The exhibition “OBLIQUE STRATEGIES - Architecture in Vojvodina at the beginning of the 21st century” represents the first step in mapping contemporary architects and architectural design studios that defined the first decade of the new millennium and gaining a detailed insight into their built works in Vojvodina. The participating architects are: Dubravka Đukanović, Milan Kovačević, Lazar Kuzmanov, Dragan Marinčić, Aleksandra Marinčić, Ilja Mikitišin, Dušan Miladinović, Leonid Nešić, Aleksandar Rackov, Nemanja Radusinović, Vilmos Toth, Zoltán Valkay.
In addition, during the OPEN DAYS 2015, the delegation of AP Vojvodina had a number of meetings with the officials of EU institutions, regions and cities, among whom were Catherine Wendt, Head of Unit for Serbia in the European Commission's Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of Regions (CoR) and his associates, members of the European Parliament, among whom were the members of the parliamentary group “Friends of Serbia”, and Pavol Frešo, President of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region.
Official thank-you letter of Corina Creţu, EU Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy and of Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions for having taken an active part in the OPEN DAYS 2015. - download PDF
The 12th edition of the OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities was held under the slogan “Growing together – Smart investment for people” in Brussels from 6th to 9th October 2014, gathering over 5,800 participants.
In its framework, the traditional “Vojvodina Day” was marked at the Press Club Brussels Europe on 6th October 2014, by opening the exhibition of Milan Konjović’s paintings “The Landscapes and the People of Vojvodina” and of publications representing the cultural heritage of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, as well as by the performance of Aleksandar Dujin’s jazz quartet. The event was organised by the European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, “Milan Konjović” Gallery and Vojvodina Institute for Culture. In addition to the President of the Provincial Government, Bojan Pajtić SJD and Provincial Secretary for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-government, Branislav Bugarski, the attendees were addressed by the Vice-president of the Provincial Government and Provincial Secretary for Culture and Public Information, Slaviša Grujić and Myriam Ferran, Head of the Directorate General for Enlargement Serbia unit in the European Commission.
The following day, 7th October 2014, the workshop “Interregional cooperation on sustainable and smart development for the economy based on well-being: towards EXPO 2015” was held and it was organized by the consortia “Motors for Growth”, comprising in addition to Vojvodina, the following partner regions: Baden-Württemberg (Germany), Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Catalonia (Spain), Rhône-Alpes (France), Flanders (Belgium) and Lesser Poland (Poland). The representative of AP Vojvodina to address the participants was the Provincial Secretary for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-government, Branislav Bugarski.
Furthermore, the delegation of AP Vojvodina had a number of meetings with the officials of EU institutions, European regions and cities, among whom were the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn; Head of the European Parliament Delegation for South Eastern Europe, Eduard Kukan; President of the State Parliament of Hesse, Norbert Kartmann; President of Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, Jean-Jack Queyranne; Vice-president of Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, Bernard Soulage; President of the Slovak Region of Prešov, Peter Hudik; President of the region of Istria, Valter Flego; Minister of Agriculture of Lombardy, Gianni Fava; as well as representatives of the Osjek-Baranja County and City of Rijeka. In order to make available its European experience and contacts to anyone in Serbia being interested in it, the representatives of AP Vojvodina also had a meeting with the representatives of the Šumadija region, Pomoravlje District and City of Kragujevac.
OPEN DAYS 2014 – Proceedings – download PDF
OPEN DAYS – Local events proceedings 2014 - download PDF
The European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina organised 3 local events in Odžaci, Stara Pazova and Apatin in the framework of the OPEN DAYS 2013.
OPEN DAYS – Local events proceedings 2013 – download PDF
Being a member of the regional partnership, the European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina participated in the panel discussion “Towards EU-28: New opportunities versus old obstacles for regional cooperation” which consisted of two panel sessions. The regional partnership included the following European regions: Central Hungary Region (HU), City of Kotor (ME), Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship (PL), Municipality of Maribor (SI), City of Rijeka (HR), Canton Sarajevo & Macro Region (BA), City of Skopje (MK), Styria (AT), Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship (PL), Varazdin County (HR) and Vojvodina (RS).
OPEN DAYS 2012 – Proceedings – download PDF
The Autonomous Province (AP) of Vojvodina is situated in the northern part of Serbia, in the Pannonian Plain of Central Europe covering an area of 21,506 square kilometers. It has a favourable geographical position and along with the productivity of the workforce, a long tradition in many branches of business as well as the development of new industries, many financial and tax incentives, Vojvodina is an attractive place to do business. Moreover, one and a half million hectares of fertile arable land are great potential for agriculture, agribusiness, tourism and renewable energy source utilization.
When it comes to tourism, Vojvodina is taking a more and more important place on the tourist maps. Novi Sad, the administrative and cultural centre of Vojvodina, is the second largest city in Serbia and host to two significant events: the EXIT Festival, the largest music festival in SE Europe and the International Agricultural Fair, the largest and most important event of its kind in the region. Yet, Vojvodina’s tourist offer is far richer: rivers, lakes, Fruška Gora with its monasteries, the Deliblato Sands, distinctive farms called ”salaši“, to name but a few.
Two major routes: the Pan-European Transport Corridor VII, the Danube and Corridor X pass through Vojvodina. The Danube is navigable throughout its entire Vojvodina stretch and its course through Vojvodina raises it in importance as a transit region. When the Sava, the Tisa and the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal are added to it, Vojvodina has more than 2,000 km of navigable river routes, making up about 93% of Serbia’s total internal navigable routes.
Like the Danube itself, being the world’s most international river, Vojvodina is renowned for national, cultural and linguistic diversity. Twenty six ethnic groups live in Vojvodina, speaking six official languages. Thus, Vojvodina is rightly nicknamed “Europe in miniature”.
The official opening and start of work of the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels was marked on 10th October 2011 with the participation of more than 250 representatives of regional partners all over the European Union, EU institutions, such as the Committee of the Regions, European Commission, members of the European Parliament, heads of missions of representations in Brussels, as well as representatives of institutions and economy of our country.