At the EU PRO Programme presentation, the Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović said that Serbia, as a candidate country, received the grants in the amount of about 200 million euros a year. As the Minister added the European integration is the Serbia’s foreign policy orientation, which has provided stability to the country, have brought new investments, a better image and accordingly an impact on international relations, student programmes, numerous donations, development assistance and IPA funds.
“I expect that you, as the representatives of the municipalities, will also work on the preparation of good projects and promote and increase the visibility of the funds we received from the EU in your local self-governments”, Minister Joksimović said, while adding that local economic development also means assistance in establishing small and medium enterprises as well as support for already registered enterprises through procurement of equipment.
After inviting local self-governments and representatives of small business to take an active part in the implementation of the EU PRO Programme, the Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi said that through the programme, which includes 99 out of 174 local self-governments in Serbia, the EU would invest in infrastructure and contribute to the improvement of the overall business environment and competitiveness of local economy.
“Micro and small enterprises are the backbone of the European and Serbian economy as they have a leading role in job creation and the generation of economic growth, so the public call we have published today worth 4.5 million Euros is intended for them in order to improve their business operations, as well as to be socially responsible to their communities”, the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia said.
Ambassador Fabrizi reminded that the European Union was Serbia’s biggest trade partner and that in the previous three years, the exports from Serbia had tripled, trade exchange increased by 64 percent while 78 percent of foreign investments came from the EU. He emphasized that in the past ten years, the EU had invested three billion Euros of grants in Serbia.
“Through the realisation of projects, local self-governments will have the opportunity to improve the knowledge and skills needed in implementing future projects financed by donors, primarily the European Union”, said Graeme Tyndall, EU PRO Programme Manager, pointing out that the strengthening of local self-governments is an important segment of the country’s overall economic development.
Greeting the guests, Mayor, Bojan Radović stated that Aranđelovac would closely follow the opportunities offered through the EU PRO Programme and prepare project proposals. “Although competition is strong, we will compete. The Programme should increase the competitiveness of the municipalities and since we want to be competitive we will compete too”, said Radović.
The presentation of the EU PRO Programme was attended by the representatives of 99 local self-governments, as well as representatives of the EU member-countries, including the ambassadors of Hungary, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Slovakia, Romania and Italy in Serbia.
They had the opportunity to visit the EU Projects Fair in Aranđelovac, where part of the current support of the European Union to Serbia was presented, including the activities conducted by the Ministry of European Integration, European Investment Bank and EU Info Centre. At the Fair, there were displayed successful examples of support to entrepreneurship, small and medium enterprises, which were realized through various EU Programmes such as COSME, the programmes realized by Serbia’s Chamber of Commerce – the Erasmus Programme for young entrepreneurs, Horizon 2020, the European Entrepreneurship Network, as well as the projects of the Innovation Fund and the recently completed European PROGRES Programme.
Aleksandrovac, Aleksinac, Aranđelovac, Arilje, Babušnica, Bajina Bašta, Batočina, Bela Palanka, Blace, Bogatić, Bojnik, Boljevac, Bor, Bosilegrad, Brus, Bujanovac, Crna Trava, Čačak, Čajetina, Ćićevac, Ćuprija, Despotovac, Dimitrovgrad, Doljevac, Gadžin Han, Golubac, Gornji Milanovac, Ivanjica, Jagodina, Kladovo, Knić, Knjaževac, Koceljeva, Kosjerić, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krupanj, Kruševac, Kučevo, Kuršumlija, Lajkovac, Lapovo, Lebane, Leskovac, Loznica, Lučani, Ljig, Ljubovija, Majdanpek, Mali Zvornik, Malo Crniće, Medveđa, Merošina, Mionica, Negotin, Niš, Nova Varoš, Novi Pazar, Osečina, Paraćin, Petrovac na Mlavi, Pirot, Požarevac, Požega, Preševo, Priboj, Prijepolje, Prokuplje, Rača, Raška, Ražanj, Rekovac, Sjenica, Smederevo, Smederevska Palanka, Sokobanja, Surdulica, Svilajnac, Svrljig, Šabac, Topola, Trgovište, Trstenik, Tutin, Ub, Užice, Valjevo, Varvarin, Velika Plana, Veliko Gradište, Vladimirci, Vladičin Han, Vlasotince, Vranje, Vrnjačka Banja, Zaječar, Žabari, Žagubica, Žitorađa.