The future of rural parts depends on the quality usage of EU funds

16 Dec 2013

image PHOTO: UNDP

Informative workshop in Sisak continues the process of collecting project ideas for EU funds

SISAK, 16 December 2013 – In the County Chamber of Commerce in Sisak a half-day informative workshop was held on „Structural and investment EU funds as mechanisms for the integral development of Croatian municipalities, cities and counties.“ Workshop participants from the civil, public and private sectors have been informed of financial measures and options from EU funds in the period between 2014 and 2020. Workshops are designed as one of the initial steps of including and connecting all three sectors in the process of developing project ideas which are important for Sisak-Moslavina County. The workshop is the result of the cooperation between the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds.

„The future of rural areas greatly depends on the quality usage of EU funds“—stated Venko Ćurlin, Minister's Assistant, in his opening speech. „It is necessary to improve the access to the development and design of the projects in order to provide a better life quality in the least developed areas.“

„The role of the UNDP is to assist in the recognition and formulation of ideas for developmental projects which will contribute to the economic development and employment,“ – stated Vitalie Vremis, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP office in Zagreb. „However, it is important to emphasize that the creation of legitimate project ideas and proposals is supported exclusively by the needs, experience and knowledge of the population living and working in these areas. The success of structural EU funds depends on their active involvement. “

In the context of Croatian accession to the European Union, one gets the impression that there is an abundance of information available together with informative workshops on EU funds and their usage. However, the UNDP's informative workshops are being implemented in a wider context in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds. „Preparing the grounds for the usage of EU funds: Creating a database of project ideas for the least developed Croatian areas“ (so called „Project hunters“), for the areas of Lika-Senj, Karlovac and Sisak-Moslavina County. Within the project's framework, around one hundred meetings have been held with the public sector, and the informative workshops are part of the next project phase.

In terms of this project public sector plays crucial role. Jana Trost, UNDP regional advisor on EU regional development, shared her experiences from implementing structural funds for projects at local level in Bulgaria and Slovenia. “Underdeveloped municipalities need systematic support in preparation of integrated development strategies, in identifying those projects that would turn the development trends. They need technical expertise for implementation of projects. Alone, they will not be able to come out of the underdevelopment gap.”

The project also includes separate consultations regarding the most advanced project ideas of all sectors, so-called „project clinics“, securing a compromise between the involved stakeholders, and providing support in achieving partnership with users during the project implementation. Also, the principles of implementing all activities involve the transfer of knowledge and the increasing capacity of all included stakeholders from the public and private sector on a regional and a local level for the purpose of identifying, developing and implementing project proposals for the usage of EU funds in the future.

Apart from mere informative sessions, the projects is opening the way towards the inclusion of all important stakeholders and the usage of their innovation and creativity in the development of their counties. On the other side, the bureaucratic process and facilitating in the creation of project ideas, together with the standardized forms and methods of collecting project ideas, which remain with stakeholders following project completion can serve as a springboard for the improved management of their areas for the future.

Following the workshop in Sisak, tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17th, starting at 9:00 am, the same workshop will be held in Gospić at the Culture-information center (Budačka 12). Workshop programme in Gospic is available on the link.