A presentation of EU programmes intended for employees of local self-governments, entitled “Programmes of the European Union in Service of Development of Local Communities”, and organised by the Permanent Conference of Cities and Municipalities and the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Government of the Republic of Serbia was held in the MPs’ Club in Belgrade on 5th July 2017. The event was attended by approximately 60 participants from over 30 municipalities and cities all around the entire territory of Serbia.
Apart from funds from EU pre-accession funds, local self-governments in Serbia can also access funds from some EU programmes where our country has the right to participate. Their purpose is to support member states, but also candidate countries for EU membership, in implementing the internal EU policy in different fields (such as education, culture, consumer protection, competition, environmental protection, research and development).
The event was opened by Jadranka Joksimović, Minister for European Integration, Đorđe Staničić, General Secretary of the Permanent Conference of Cities and Municipalities and Žarko Stepanović, Interim Director of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society.
The Minister for European Integration, Jadranka Joksimović, pointed out in her address that the process of European integrations does not always imply highly political topics, but also questions of development. In this sense she emphasised the importance of participating in EU programmes through which a vast number of excellent projects from Serbia has already been supported. The Minister stated that the Republic of Serbia currently has the right to participate in the following EU programmes: Horizon 2020, KOZME, EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), Erasmus +, Europe for Citizens, Creative Europe, Fiscalis 2020, EU Health Programme, Customs 2020, EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Minister Joksimović also emphasised the important role of units of local self-government, but also organisation of the civil society and other relevant actors on the local level, both in the pre-accession process and in the process of negotiations about the accession of Serbia to the European Union. Moreover, Minister Joksimović reflected on available IPA funds and communicated the information that until 2020 the Republic of Serbia can expect another billion of Euros of non-refundable aid from the European Union on the national level, and that local self-governments can apply for project funds through numerous programmes. She also stated that pre-accession funds amount to 200 million EUR yearly.
General Secretary of PCCM, Đorđe Staničić, stated that the goal of the event was to raise the level of interest of local self-governments in applying for EU funds available to them.
“Our role in this process depends, primarily, on ourselves”, said Staničić to representatives of cities and municipalities.
The Interim Director of the Office, Žarko Stepanović, pointed out the importance of the EU programmes “Europe for Citizens” for which the Office has been the contact point since 2012, and which enables local self-governments and civil society organisations to cooperate and network with partner institutions in the EU.”
“In this way we strengthen the capacities for preparation and utilisation of funds in the moment of Serbia’s accession to the EU”, said Stepanović. According to what he stated, 29 projects have been approved so far whose total value amounts to 1.7 million Euros.
The Head of the Creative Europe Desk Serbia, Dimitrije Tadić, presented opportunities for establishing European cooperation offered by the Creative Europe Programme, criteria in applying with projects within which units of local self-government can submit project propositions and be the project carriers and/or partners. Moreover, Rade Milić, representative of the Centre for Urban Development presented the project Digital Narratives of Small Historical Places as an example of good practice.
The event was organised as a part of the programme “Support to Local Self-Governments in Serbia on the Path to EU – Phase II” which is being realised by PCCM with support of the Government of Sweden.