"This is an example of how the European Union invests directly in municipalities, at the local level, where life actually happens and we are trying to respond to the specific needs of local self-governments, be they more or less developed. Svilajnac is an example of a municipality that received the funds and has already successfully implemented a number of projects," said Steffen Hudolin, visiting the works on economic infrastructure development of the "New Business Zone" as the industrial zone in Svilajnac is called.
The works in the zone, which the EU supports with 200,000 Euros and in which the municipality participates with 46,000 Euros, comprise the construction of access roads and public utility infrastructure that includes water supply, sewerage and electrical power supply.
"This is the second industrial zone owned by a municipality we are developing with the support of the EU in order to complete the infrastructure in the zone. For us, this means about 18 hectares for new investors and we have already signed a contract with the "Hočevar", a Slovenian company which bought a plot of land here, with our guarantee that we will develop the missing infrastructure, an operation which is currently underway," said Predrag Milanović, Mayor of the Municipality of Svilajnac.
As he said, the key resource of the Svilajnac municipality are its young, capable people working in the local administration who can prepare projects in line with EU demanding requirements and pointed out that the European Union is the biggest donor in Svilajnac, with particularly significant assistance provided to it for the reconstruction after the 2014 floods.
Steffen Hudolin and the Mayor of Svilajnac visited the works on the renovation of the Cultural Centre in the Sviljanac municipality village of Kušiljevo. They pointed out that this project was an example of how the local self-government, the Serbian government and the European Union worked together to respond to the needs of the population.
The project, worth around 180,000 Euros, includes the reconstruction of the roof, the façade and the interior, as well as the construction of the new sanitary facilities in the building of the Cultural Centre.
In Kragujevac, after the meeting with Mayor Radomir Nikolić, the EU Delegation Head of Operations II Steffen Hudolin visited the local and economic infrastructure projects worth a total of almost one million Euros – the renovation of basketball courts in Veliki Park and the revitalization and expansion of a brownfield site in the Kragujevac industrial zone.
"These projects show the essence of the European integrations and European values, they are especially important for local governments, because two thirds of the EU Acquis is implemented locally, and more than 60 percent of the structural funds target specifically the local level," said Steffen Hudolin after visiting the projects.
"The City of Kragujevac has worked a lot on the preparation of projects and development of technical documents, which proved to be fruitful, as three of our projects have been approved by the EU PRO programme," said Minja Obradović, a member of the City Council for Investment and Project Management.
As Minja Obradović explained, the works on the industrial zone comprise building the communal infrastructure and roads that should connect the old and the new locations with the motorway, which is of great importance for the existing investors, but also the potential ones. In addition, the inhabitants of the nearby village of Ilina Voda will have direct benefits because their households will be connected to the water supply and the sewerage system. The total value of these works is almost 800,000 Euros.
On the other hand, the project in the Veliki Park, for which the EU has allocated almost 150,000 Euros, while the City of Kragujevac participates with 28,000 Euros, includes the reconstruction of the basketball courts, the construction of a pedestrian zone, stands, as well as the procurement of the appropriate sports equipment, which should all contribute to creating better conditions for engaging in sports.