Professional practice in Istria County within the framework of the Specialised Programme “Management of Regional Development through EU Funds“

Within the framework of the Specialised Programme “Management of Regional Development through EU Funds“, a professional practice was held in Istria County, Croatia from 29th June to 2nd July 2015, on the basis of the signed Protocol of Cooperation between the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Istria County, and given the fact that Istria County proved to be an example of best practice in use of EU funds.

The visit was organised by the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina and in addition to the Fund’s representatives, the participants were comprised of the attendees of the first generation of the specialized lifelong learning programme, representatives of the Provincial Secretariat for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government, Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, Assembly of AP Vojvodina and Radio Television of Vojvodina. The purpose of the visit was to familiarise the participants with the work and experience of the county in programmes enhancing rural and regional development, as well as cultural and media development.  An important segment of the programme was to acquaint the participants with the practical application of the gained knowledge and examples of best practice in the use of EU funds.

The first day of the study visit, Patrizia Bosich, Head of the Administrative Department for International Cooperation and European Affairs, presented the EU funded projects “Revitas, Heart of Istria, Adriamuse“ to the Programme participants, whereas Bojana Puljko, senior associate for international projects, presented the projects“Parenzana“ and “Re.d.d Hill“, also EU funded.  After that, a visit to the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria was organised, where the project “HERA“ funded under the IPA Adriatic Cross-border Cooperation Programme was presented. The following day, the participants visited the following cultural institutions and associations: Alliance of Rojc Associations, Portal Kulturistra, Pula Film Festival, Metamedia Association, whose representatives held a presentation on the project “Creative EU“.  On the same day, there was a visit to the Agency for Rural Development of Istria Region (AZZRI), in Pazin, where the Strategic Program of Rural Development for the Istria County was presented, in addition to the Educational Gastro Centre of Istria and Project “KEY Q – A Key for the Quality in the Development and Responsible Value Build Up of Agro-Food Resources from Both Adriatic Coasts“. At the end of the day, a visit to the House of Frescoes in Draguć was organised, when Vladimir Torbica, Head of the Department of Culture of Istria presented the EU funded project “Revitas“. On the last day, the representatives of the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina had a meeting with the representatives of the Istrian Development Agency (IDA) in Pula to explore the opportunities for future cooperation between the two institutions.

Viviana Benussi, Deputy Prefect of Istra County and Marin Grgeta, Head of the Department for Decentralization, Local and Regional Self-Government, Planning and Construction at Region of Istria, met with the study visit participants and emphasized that the cooperation between Istria County and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina could be enhanced by new activities and joint projects.

The professional practice within the framework of the Specialised Programme “Management of Regional Development through EU Funds“, which was implemented Istria County, was supported, from the organisational point of view, by the Istrian Cultural Agency and Aleksandra Vinkerlić, Director.

In cooperation with the University of Novi Sad, the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina is implementing the Specialised Lifelong Learning Programme “Management of Regional Development through EU Funds” for the first generation of attendees. The objective is information dissemination on EU processes and regional policies, as well as on the importance and opportunities for accessing EU funds, so as to obtain an adequate analysis of regional development in the framework of EU integration, with the aim of making relevant decisions and bringing conclusions in terms of project management and programme and project documentation development in the EU accession process. The Programme is aimed at the employees of local self-government units, provincial administration, development agencies, public utility enterprises, educational and cultural institutions, civil society organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs, universities, institutes, research institutes and other institutions that may be beneficiaries of EU funds. The first semester ended and the beginning of the second semester is due in September 2015.