European Shoot of Vojvodina

“When will Serbia join the EU?”, this question is often asked in public. Yet, I would say that Vojvodina has already been implementing a lot of European standards within its competencies. Perhaps, it is not about ”When?”, but rather about the acknowledgment that we are already in Europe. We may have lost time trying to realize in what direction we should go, instead of accepting ourselves, since we are and we will be a part of the European civilization and European cultural area. For that reason, Vojvodina chooses action instead of waiting, and that is why it is the engine of further Europeisation and development of the whole country.

From the respect for multiculturality, understanding and acknowledgement of differences, to the fact that Vojvodina has six official languages. That fact, whoever I talked to in Europe, itself breaks a number of stereotypes about how other people see us. We are united in difference and that is our strength. With reference to economy, we have already been building institutions based on European and world standards. The main aim is to direct our resources towards the creation of a framework for greater economic development, higher employment , further infrastructure development, use of IPA funds, new technologies, innovations, better education, more efficient health care, etc.

On this occasion, I would like to mention some institutions which have produced and which will produce a better economic picture of our Province in the future. The Development Fund is the main credit chain link in our administration’s support to the economic development of the Province. Low interest rates have contributed to the creation of several thousand new workplaces, start-up of farms, plowing of fields, opening of groceries and plants and to giving new chances for the unemployed. The Guarantee Fund has also achieved excellent results, and in a short time, it managed to impose itself as an institution worthy of respect, which engagement contributes to the reduction of charges for credit. Of course, there is also the Vojvodina Investment Promotion, an institution responsible for investment attraction, furthermore, the Capital Investments Fund, which is starting a new cycle of infrastructure works. The Office for European Affairs unites our efforts to grasp a great opportunity offered to us with reference to regional cooperation and use of EU IPA Funds, through new European projects and cooperation with foreign partners.

More than ten CBC projects have been realized in Vojvodina in the past period, application for SEE Transnational Cooperation Program is ongoing, we are preparing projects in the area of institutional building, education, etc. We have partners from Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary to Greece … We have presented our economic and administrative capacities from Brussels, via Ulm and Salzburg to Paris.

That is our path, the path of tolerance, cooperation, partnership and orientation towards economic growth and better living standards. Pre-accession funds are also a good opportunity for municipalities and local stakeholders. Hence, it is extremely important to form departments which would be engaged in regional and local development and which would prepare, apply for and implement EU projects at the level of local self-governments and new regions across the country in the shortest possible time. Therefore, it is crucial for people to be trained and to adopt EU rules and procedures as soon as possible. With reference to that, Vojvodina is the most active one, however, it is important that others join too. All the above mentioned state institutions are willing to assist in the formation of similar partnership institutions in other places and other regions of our country as well. That is the way to turn to the future, reduce pressure and increase understanding. It is important that everyone does their share on that path. Our Vojvodinian European shoot should also grow and take root elsewhere.