EU PRO Programme funded by the European Union and the Republic of Serbia
  • Republic of Serbia

Niš, 19 November 2019

European Union support to competitiveness through the modernisation of local self-governments and small businesses

Introduction of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in 34 local self-governments as a basis for development

Thirty-four local self-governments with the European Union (EU) support will introduce and improve Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through nineteen projects worth more than two million Euros aimed at better planning of development and resource management, improving services and procedures provided to the population and the business.

“Today we are talking about the frontier through digitalisation, which is one of the main challenges in terms of scientific breakthrough, transparency, innovation, artificial intelligence, open data,” said Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, while congratulating to the representatives of the cities and municipalities to implement GIS projects.

"This is one of the challenges in front of us, and this is one of the reasons why geographic information system may seem abstract or difficult to grasp to someone, but certainly this is an instrument to manage big data. The other challenge is how to use that data for the benefits of the citizens through projects that may go from better planning, cadastre, transport, tourism or environmental protection”, Fabrizi said, noting the continuity of EU support to Serbia.

Through the EU PRO Programme, the European Union will support the procurement of software and hardware, and other modern computer equipment that will allow local governments to collect, process, and manage spatial data in one place.  This will create conditions for improving public infrastructure, better spatial and urban planning, promotion of tourist potentials, as well as preserving natural, cultural and urban heritage. Ultimately, these interventions are expected to increase the number of investments and, consequently creation of new jobs

The Head of the EU Delegation pointed out that there is no better place in Serbia than Niš to present GIS projects, as it is an innovation hub, while underling the fact that the projects will be implemented through the local partnerships. Namely, eight out of a total of 19 projects are being implemented in partnership of two or more local self-governments that have recognised this as modality to maximise their development potentials and solve common problems.

“All the projects the EU supports are aimed at improving the quality of life of citizens, which is why our motto is EU for You“, said Ambassador Fabrizi.

The Head of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Serbia, Michela Telatin, emphasized the continued support and guidance of the Ministry of European Integration and the European Union to achieving balanced, sustainable development. While underling the importance of partnership with local self-governments, she congratulated grantees on innovative project proposals for the introduction of GIS through the EU PRO programme that aims to contribute to the social and economic development of the country.

The Mayor of Niš Darko Bulatović said that the City has been implementing a number of projects with the support of the European Union and that Niš, as a local self- government, gives full support to the overall policy of the Serbian Government, particularly the association policy.

“The introduction of the geographical information system is important for citizens, the economy and public administration so that we can plan, invest and contribute to the development and potentials of Niš,” said Mayor Bulatović.

The City of Niš is implementing GIS supported by the EU support with 86,000 Euros to develop special thematic applications for planning documentation, investment promotion, tourism and cultural heritage.

In Niš, Ambassador Fabrizi visited NiCAT, a cluster of advanced technologies, a business support organisation that implements a project to support Niš companies operating in the field of information technology (IT) to enter foreign markets.

During his visit to the cluster, the Head of the EU Delegation met with representatives of three IT companies from Niš – Badin Soft, Ingsoftware, and Softelm – which received the EU grants to procure equipment and improve their business and competitiveness.

Ambassador Fabrizi also visited the Start-up Centre Niš that with EU funds, will implement a project aimed at developing small and medium-sized businesses in the gaming industry.

 “Education, innovation, and youth entrepreneurship are the areas where the EU is particularly active in Serbia. The young, educated people I met today are using technological development to connect and communicate with the world through their professional growth, and I am glad that they are supported by EU funds,” concluded Ambassador Fabrizi.

"These are successful stories of the cooperation between Serbia and the EU that should be replicated in other parts of the country, and Niš has become a centre of excellence with the development of this sector of the economy, which significantly contributes to economic growth and job creation," Fabrizi said.