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Through Partnership to EU funds

16 April 2013, Novi Pazar

The topics of the info meeting with representatives of local economic development agencies and other budgetary institutions of Novi Pazar, Raška, Ivanjica, Nova Varoš, Tutin and Sjenica were how to improve project planning, development and financing application.

The meeting was also attended by the Mayor of Tutin, Šemsudin Kučević, who highlighted the importance of such events.

“I wanted to find out more about this topic myself, as well as to lend support to the colleagues who will work on projects directly,“ said Kučević.

The opportunities to advance cross-border cooperation projects were presented by Denis Slatina, Head of the Joint Technical Secretariat Prijepolje within the Cross-border Cooperation Program Serbia – Montenegro. In a comprehensive presentation, Slatina gave a full overview of the past activities in the field of Serbia’s association with the EU, focusing on the use of approved funds.

“Practice has demonstrated that it is necessary to read program documents carefully in order to be able to properly position your projects,“ said Slatina.

He paid special attention to the detailed presentation of experiences from previous projects with the participation of representatives from local self-governments in the Raška and Zlatibor Districts, and explained novelties envisaged for the period after June 2013.

“Partnership is the most important thing in the project preparation. If you have a good partner on the other side, then your chances to get funds for the implementation of the project are high,“ said Slatina.

Participants in the debate wanted to know more about possible ways to improve the small and medium-sized enterprise sector in the context of utilization of EU funds, as well as about the possible ways to achieve better involvement of the universities in the area.

“Businessmen cannot apply for the funds on their own, but this can be done by associations formed by representatives of the economic sector,“ said Slatina.

The experiences in project implementation from the perspective of EU PROGRES were presented by Dušan Čukić, Programme Technical Specialist.

He explained the logic underlying the operation of this Programme, insisting on the fact that the most important thing which projects bring about is the effect on life of the local community.

“Paving a street is not a development project, and the largest number of applications was of that type,“ said Čukić and encouraged representatives of local self-governments to be bolder in the coming years and to work with their neighbours on planning major inter-municipal projects.

“We have to be aware of the fact that that if we start planning today, the implementation will ensue only after two years. Therefore, we have to minimize the number of mistakes,“ said Čukić.

The key role of partnerships in the creation of development projects nominated for EU funds was also underlined by Ivana Maksić from the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities. In her presentation, she listed good practice examples from the projects implemented so far within Exchange Programmes, and made a set of recommendations which could be useful to representatives of local self-governments in creating some future project proposals.

“You have to establish links, because you have already lost a lot only because you have not adequately networked,“ said Ivana Maksić.

This meeting is part of the information and education campaign titled Europe, That Is You, funded by the European Union, the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the Republic of Serbia, through the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme EU PROGRES, and implemented by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN Serbia. Through a series of activities and events that will be organized within the campaign in South and South West Serbia until June 2013, citizens will be able to learn more about European values, practices and standards, so that they can independently take their own informed views about the process of Serbia’s accession to the European Union.

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Please be informed that the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme – EU PROGRES was completed on 31 March 2014. If you would like to learn about the activities and results of the European PROGRES, which is a continuation of development support of the European Union and Government of Switzerland to the South East and South West Serbia, please visit