The cities and municipalities which apply successfully will be receiving expertise to draft strategy papers for local sustainable development. These strategies, based on an integrated approach to development, will help local self-governments in a particular geographical area to define common solutions to issues that go beyond the boundaries of individual municipalities , such as brownfield sites and industrial zones, informal settlements, solving social or environmental problems or protecting cultural heritage in certain areas. Overall, the strategies should provide for forward planning in a number of sectors - ranging from education, economic development and protection of the environment.
"The introduction of an integrated approach to territorial development is an important part of the accession process within Chapter 22 related to the regional policy and preparation for the use of EU structural funds. Also, the goal of the Government of Serbia is that European integration of our country results in balanced regional development, and cohesion policy and structural funds are actually aimed at reducing regional disparities and providing equal living and development conditions in all parts of the country", said Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of European Integration.
"I would invite local self-governments that meet the criteria of the Call to apply and use opportunities to strengthen the capacity to use the EU funds and other sources of funding, while with cooperation of all levels of government the effect of support will be even higher," said Joksimović.
The local self-governments with the status of a city, independently if they apply for a given urban area, or in partnership with at least three local self-governments and the competent regional development agency for the application for a wider area of influence of the urban area in accordance with defined criteria are eligible to apply for the Call that is open until 10 December 2021.
"EU PRO Plus will allow municipalities to be better equipped to promote key aspects contributing to the development of their communities. And that is of course the economy, but also land management, infrastructure, education, environment protection and other sectors. It is important to widen the scope of sustainable development and this requires careful planning taking into account the wider picture. A good, comprehensive plan is essential for good implementation" said the Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret.
More information about this Call as well as the application documentation are available on the EU PRO Plus website while the info-sessions will be held in the period from 26 October to 23 November 2021 in Zlatibor, Kragujevac, Vrnjačka Banja, Veliko Gradište, Niš, Šabac and Vranje.
The European Union supports activities of the EU PRO Plus programme, which contributes to a more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia, with 30 million Euros. The programme, which is led by the Ministry of European Integration, aims to contribute to enhancing territorial development management, economic growth and improvement of social infrastructure and cohesion in 99 local self-government units, in two regions: Šumadija and Western Serbia and Southern and Eastern Serbia. The activities in the field are implemented by UNOPS.