Regional Development Agency of Srem (RDA Srem) has organized a workshop on cross-border cooperation Croatia and Serbia and on the potentials for cooperation between the RDAs of Srem and Slavonia and Baranja.
This is the first in a series of meetings aimed to identify possible joint projects for which funds would be required to contest the EU IPA funds for cross-border cooperation that will be opened in September 2013. The three areas will be funded – the economy, the environmental protection and „people to people“ projects. This cooperation is especially important because of the fact that Croatia became a member of the EU and that Serbia is a candidate for EU membership, which includes getting up to ten times more resources. Mr Milan Mirić, director of RDA Srem Ruma, said that this cooperation is important for the possibility of transferring the experiences of colleagues from Croatia. He also emphasized that Croatia has recently been in the position of being a candidate for membership in the EU and in its own way used the pre-accession funds. Serbia is now in that position and it is good to use the experiences of our colleagues from Croatia. Cross-border cooperation is an ideal opportunity for joint projects, equalization of approaches to the development of economic ties between the two countries and institutions„. For the previous competition, 185 projects were reported and only 18 were approved. Stjepan Ribic, director of the RDA of Slavonia and Baranja, at the meeting in Ruma said that the Osijek- Baranja County’s is the most successful in Croatia and that it has implemented more than 280 projects that attracted more than € 200mill from EU funds for such purposes. He also said that it is important what kinds of projects are run for since there may be more than a hundred projects at one contest. “In both cases, we need to change habits and mentality, because money is running out, both in Belgrade and Zagreb. In 19 days, for Croatia is in the EU, we have two projects and one of them is the project of our RDA. We must keep in mind that one thing is to get the project, and the other one is to implement it. EU projects are usually very demanding in its implementation“, said Mr Ribic.
Representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government R. Serbia, Provincial Secretariat for Interregional Cooperation and Local Government, the Secretariat of Economy, Employment and Gender Equality, representatives of municipalities of Srem, as well as representatives of the Croatian minority living in the Srem attended the meeting. Directors of RDAs of Srem and Slavonia and Baranja have agreed on the next steps of cooperation and the development of joint projects of the two cross-border regions.