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Balanced regional development among Serbian government’s priorities

12. May 2011. | 06:13 07:32

Source: Emg.rs

The Deputy Prime Minister stated that today's conference provides a contribution to regional policies, both in terms of initiatives and exchange of experiences, and in defining specific measures.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Regional Development Verica Kalanovic said that balanced regional development is necessary for faster development of Serbia as a whole, but is also an indispensable link on Serbia's European path.

At the opening of the International conference on overcoming regional differences held in Arandjelovac, Kalanovic pointed to its importance not only for obtaining the candidate status, but also for full membership.

That is why a balanced regional development is one of the Serbian government’s national priorities, she said.

She recalled that a registry of measures and incentives has been made, owing to which it will be known precisely what the effects of invested funds are.

In Serbia all regions are 75% below the development average of the regions in the EU although the greater amount of the budget is set aside for the least developed areas.

Kalanovic said that the registry will enable insight into where each dinar or euro has been invested.

Serbia wants this process to be even more transparent and clear, which the registry of measures and incentives will enable, she said and stressed that the EU pays great attention to regional development.

The Deputy Prime Minister stated that today's conference provides a contribution to regional policies, both in terms of initiatives and exchange of experiences, and in defining specific measures.

She called on all actors in this process, particularly at regional and local level, to be more involved in their implementation.

Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric said that this conference is an opportunity for 150 representatives from 20 countries, along with state policy makers, experts and representatives of NGOs to determine the directions of creating regional policies that should be harmonised with the EU.

Ciric stressed that the imperative of the Serbian government is establishing measures and ways for overcoming big regional differences across Serbia.

Considering the fact that the differences in regional development in Serbia are in the ratio of 1-3 and as much as 1-10 when it comes to development of municipalities, which ranks Serbia among countries with the greatest differences in development in Europe, the line ministry has created a legislative and strategic framework for regional development of Serbia, the Minister said.

In order to promote regional development, the government initiated and implemented various support programs such as cluster development, promotion of innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises and the revival of production in underdeveloped areas.

There is also support for the preparation of technical project documentation and implementation of infrastructure projects, employment fairs, public works, as well as subsidies for self-employment.

In addition to financial support measures, the government has implemented other measures as well such as relocation of certain institutions of state administration from Belgrade to central Serbia in order to create equal opportunities for all citizens and equal access to institutions.

Speaking at the international conference on overcoming regional differences (the panel called "European Cohesion Policy After 2013"), Djelic explained that if Serbia obtained the candidate status, three parts of the EU budget to which we still do not have the access would open to us - for agriculture, regional development and human resources development.

That would be the first important step and that is why the candidate status is not just symbolic, but something very specific for our citizens and especially for the less developed municipalities, he said.

Djelic noted that it has already been pointed out that differences in funds granted to the countries aspiring to EU membership and actual members are too big and that they do not give good regional results.

It is imperative that Serbia take proactive role in the discussion on the structure of the European budget from 2014 to 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined.


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