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Sixth debate on local development: Kakanj on the European road

‘Local Community Takes Initiative”

Environment protection was the main topic of the sixth debate on local and economic development that the European Union Special Representative in BiH organised today in Kakanj.

The debate which was organised within the project “Local Community Takes Initiative” attracted a lot of representatives of the local administration, business community, civil society organisations and youth.

“I am glad that we have an opportunity to visit Kakanj Municipality, as a well-organised local community, which pays special attention to sport and culture development and also has significant economic activity”, Head of EU Delegation to BIH and EU Special Representative to BIH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said and highlighted the importance of the local communities and all the citizens in the process of the European integration.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden Anders Hagelberg actively participated in the debate, noting that Sweden is involved in development of the business environment in BIH.

“Embassy of Sweden to BiH continued with the ‘Challenge to change’ project that aims to support development of small and medium-sized enterprises, as sustainable growth is only possible with development and promotion of entrepreneurship and support to innovative ideas”, Hagelberg concluded.

With the traditional miners’ greeting ‘Sretno’ [Good Luck], the participants pointed to the fact that the mine and the thermal power plant are key to the economic growth of Kakanj and its main export asset. The participants were also interested in the EU projects for agriculture development, organic food and dairy production as well as education and youth employment.

“The key to good preparation for the European integration is in creating good structure and strategy at the local level”, a Croatian expert Tamara Puhovski said, adding that BiH can learn a lot from its neighbours’ mistakes.

Ambassador Wigemark visited football club ‘Mladost’ in Doboj settlement near Kakanj as well as ‘Delibašić Poliuretani’, a successful company producing sleep systems.

Following the debate, participants had an opportunity to visit the informative-education fair organized by EU co-funded projects which are directly contributing to economic and sustainable development of local communities including Local Integrated Development (LID) funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP and EU ProLocal – the Programme for Local Self-Government and Economic Development in BiH funded by the EU and German Government, implemented by the GIZ.

Within the “Local Community Takes Initiative” project, the Office of the EU Special Representative is holding public debates about the challenges and opportunities of the EU integration process and supplementary programmes in 15 local communities across BiH.