Presentation on the North-East Serbia Municipal Support Programme has been held

Novi Sad, 18 June – The European Union will finance the three-year North-East Serbia Municipal Support Programme, though the Agency for Reconstruction. The aim is to raise the living standard of the population of north-east Serbia, and the programme will be implemented in Banat, Braničevo and Podunavlje. Infrastructure should be improved, the rate of employment should be raised and social diversity and poverty should be decreased. The European Agency for Reconstruction will provide € 6.7 million for technical assistance and €13.5 million is foreseen for the implementation of priority investment projects. These are the points indicated during the presentation of the programme at the Executive Council of Vojvodina. The presentation was attended by the representatives of provincial secretariats and funds of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The host was the Regional Socio-Economic Development Centre – Banat from Zrenjanin, in cooperation with the Office for European Affairs and Provincial Secretariat for Labour, Employment and Gender Equality.

According to Valis Petrides, Programme Manager of Neighbourhood Programmes and Local Community Development Programmes of the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), the programme will be realized in cooperation with the partners from international consortium, headed by the Dutch development agency VNG International (Association of Netherlands Municipalities). Petrides emphasized that the implementation of the programme will focus on the development of local dialogue mechanisms, enhancement of citizens’ active participation in the decision-making process, capacity building in municipalities for the preparation of local and regional development plans, through the participation of key actors in socio-economic development. The focus will be the establishment of new regional development agencies and strengthening of the existing ones, furthermore, support for development, project planning and management, whose aim is economic, social and infrastructure development, as well as identification of possible sources of finacing. “The project is of paramount importance for capacity building in the province and the whole country, so that we could prepare for the future. We can expect a considerable sum of IPA funds and unless we build capacities at local level – human resources, institutions – that can prepare and implement projects, those IPA funds will not arrive to our country and we will not succeed in using all the potential partnership with the European Union offers. I hope that during the three-year period, in partnership with the EAR, we will manage to support the municipalities in our country to take more active participation in the design of projects necessary for their development”, said Predrag Novikov, Director of the Office for European Affairs .