Predrag Novikov, Director of the Office for European Affairs’ statement on the adopted draft Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina


According to the text of the province’s draft Statute, which was adopted two nights ago by an absolute majority at the Assembly of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Vojvodina will have the opportunity to open representative offices in European regions, as well as in Brussels “in order to promote and improve its economic, scientific, educational, cultural, and tourist capacities“. Although opposition MPs sharply criticized that part of Vojvodina’s highest legal act, Predrag Novikov, Director of the Office for European Affairs said that the representative office in Brussels would certainly open new doors not only for Vojvodina, but also for the whole Serbia. ”Similarly to other 300 regions and cities on the European continent, Vojvodina has also recognized its interest to be in the same place where decisions are made and brought. Knowledge and information are capital in today’s world and we do not want to miss any opportunities. We want to use every European fund that we can; we want to implement every new project by means of which we could actually attract investment and raise the living standards of citizens”, said Predrag Novikov for “Dnevnik“.

He added that Vojvodina now has partners across the European Union, who are willing to provide immediate assistance, so that Vojvodina’s start-up in Brussels could be most efficient and specific. Novikov said that it primarily involved all logistic and professional assistance, and at the same time, it would result in the reduction of incurring expenses to the lowest possible level. Novikov also warned of the fact that being absent from Brussels or other places where decisions are made was, in fact, the most expensive. ”The Executive Council of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina has strengthened partnerships with a lot of institutions and regions in the EU capital in recent times and the results are visible now. Thus, what is certain is that we will not go to Brussels only with rucksacks on our backs”, said Predrag Novikov. According to the Director of the Office for European Affairs, the usual path that a lot of other regions have taken and the one we should take is first to send professionals to the representative offices of some partner regions, who would become a cog in the machine with the assistance of hosts and European institutions in the shortest possible time, which could take six months to one year. In addition, they would soon establish new contacts and strengthen the old ones. ”That period is usually also used for making preparations for the opening of a special representative office. As we can see from the experiences of other regions, it can be accomplished in a year or two after the initial decision on going to Brussels. Practice has also shown that this path is usually also the most efficient one, because in that initial period, the costs are the lowest possible, whilst later, a large number of projects offer new opportunities for the financing of more intensive activities and increase in the number of people”, explained Novikov. Vojvodina’s path “Vojvodina’s representatives in Brussels and other EU cities are expected to bring a lot more than they have been invested into”, said Predrag Novikov. ”They concretely have to bring new projects which would be financed by EU funds, as well as knowledge on how these projects should be implemented in our country. They are expected to connect local and European institutions, so that European standards could be improved, and to open new doors and offer chances to those who may not have them now. For that is our Vojvodinian path”, concluded the Director of the Office for European Affairs.