Regions are key to faster recovery from the crisis

The European Summit of Regions and Cities is being held in Prague these days, where more than 600 representatives are present. At the invitation of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, the Office for European Affairs, together with the Provincial Secretariat for Energy and Mineral Resources, is participating in the Summit. “The main topic is the design of measures to ensure efficient facing with the economic turmoil in the world. Large companies are practically disappearing overnight and thousands of people are left unemployed in that huge wave of instability. Of course, it is a real challenge for every country. Therefore, it is also our task to obtain information about the measures being applied in neighbouring countries and the Union, not to rediscover America all the time, but copy the best practice of what we can implement without shame, open some new development opportunities with activity and focus our capacities and resources in order to maintain the economic system, endangered monetary stability, employment and protection of the most vulnerable social ones”, said Predrag Novikov, Director of the Office for European Affairs.

The Committee of the Regions has issued a report, indicating the regions and local levels become a key link for the realisation of Lisbon Strategy, related to growth, jobs, innovation and competitiveness. “Of course, no one excludes the national level, but I believe that what is necessary, in our case too, is a new spirit of cooperation and partnership of all levels in the country, because that is the only way to develop efficiently a coherent policy which can be implemented. If we talk about European funds, the trend shows that regions facilitate the use of funds to a large extent. I have talked to colleagues from Copenhagen, Barcelona and Salzburg about their experience with the implementation of European policy and use of funds and it is clear that we are at the crossroads. We could follow the path of the Netherlands, where 80% of operation programmes on the use of funds are developed or implemented at regional level. That number in Sweden is 89%, in Spain 93%, Italy 81%, Belgium 90%, Germany 94%, Austria 90%. Or, we can follow the path of our friends from Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where there is no programme at regional level, but everything is implemented at national level. Of course, the choice is ours”, added Novikov.

During the summit in Prague, special importance has also been attached to the initiative of the Provincial Secretariat for Energy and Mineral Resources, headed by Mr. Striković, on the development of new projects on the use of new and renewable energy resources through European partnerships and on partner search all over Europe. In his discussion with the representatives of the provincial administration, the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in the Check Republic expressed strong support for new development initiatives and suggested that the province should participate in the promotional events to be held in April and autumn in the Check Republic.