After the event which analysed the success of the EU PRO development programme, financed by the European Union, the conclusion was that the positive effects of the European integration process must be visible in all parts of the country, and economic growth should be evenly distributed.
The statistics speak for themselves: over 1,700 jobs have been created, conditions have been created for new investments worth EUR 30 million, and access to communal, health, social services and education has been improved in 99 local self-governments over three years.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Ambassador Sam Fabrizi, points out that this programme reached parts of the country outside Belgrade, paying much-needed attention to rural parts of the country.
“The Serbian economy is based on Corridor X, and we must go beyond that. By reaching 99 local self-governments, we have fulfilled one of the goals of European integration,” said Ambassador Fabrizi.
“The positive effects of the 341 projects implemented by EU PRO in the field of improving the competitiveness of companies, favourable business environment, infrastructure and social inclusion are already visible,” says the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.
Almost half of the employees in the companies participating in the programme are women, while 95 projects have been implemented with local self-governments, which have contributed to the overall improvement of the economy. EU PRO proved its flexibility by redirecting part of the funds to the procurement of emergency medical and non-medical equipment needed in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, estimates that EU PRO has improved the business environment in local self-governments, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the availability of cultural and other types of content.
“EU PRO is one of the most important projects we have implemented with the EU. It has demonstrated that we have all understood what possibilities are available and that we have strengthened our capacities. These projects contribute to sustainable development. This is one of the important projects that demonstrates the synergy of goals of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and our most important partner — the European Union “, states Minister Joksimović
Head of Office at UNOPS in Serbia Michaela Telatin, says that the programme has made a tangible contribution to the social and economic development of the country and that the key elements needed to create a favourable economic environment have been identified.
“EU PRO has achieved visible results and contributed to the social and economic development of Serbia by creating conditions for new investments and jobs, improving social infrastructure and inclusion, thus creating synergy and equal opportunities, and fulfilling UNOPS’s mandate to help people live better,” Telatin said.
The UNOPS office has implemented the programme and has been cooperating with the Ministry of European Integration and the Delegation of the European Union for more than a decade on the implementation of programmes aimed at local development.
During the celebration of the end of the program, a virtual fair of projects “Keep up with Europe” was opened, which will enable all interested parties to learn more about development projects supported by the EU and best practices in their implementation.
At the same time, the winners of the EU PRO media competition on the topic of EU support to local and regional development were announced.
The award in the category of the best article in the independent electronic publication went to Enes Radetinac, editor of the Novi Pazar portal A1, while the award for the best television report went to two media houses that won the same number of points from the expert jury and competitors – Radio Television Novi Pazar and journalist Aleksandar Nićiforović and TV Centre Svilajnac for the report by Predrag Todorović. The award for the best radio report was given to Radio Sto Plus from Novi Pazar and journalist Amela Bajrović, while the best author was Biljana Kuzmanović, editor of the Užička Republika Press portal.
The best media reports were determined based on the votes of the contestants and the expert jury, which consisted of: Radojka Nikolić, editor of Ekometar and Biznis magazine, Ljubica Gojgić, editor and host of the show Pravi Ugao on RTV Vojvodina and Miša Stoiljković, editor and host of the morning programme on Radio Belgrade.
The special award of the Ministry of European Integration went to the Media Research Centre from Niš for the report by Milica Milojević Kostić, while the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia awarded a special award to TV Galaksija 32 from Čačak and journalist Milena Petrović. In the category of a set of media stories, the Regional Internet Portal E-Braničevo from Požarevac and journalists Ana Grujić and Tijana Sotirov won. The results of the competition are available on the EU PRO website.
The activities of the EU PRO programme, which contributes to a more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia, received support from the European Union in the total amount of EUR 25 million. The programme aims to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises, improving the business environment and social cohesion in 99 local self-government units, in two regions: the region of Šumadija and Western Serbia and the region of Southern and Eastern Serbia. Field activities are conducted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).