Local communities make a foundation for a strong and stable country

Local Community Takes Initiative

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark hosted the seventh debate on local economic and sustainable development on 23 March in Vitez within the “Local Community Takes Iniative” project.

Participants, including representatives of the business community, civil society, local administration and youth, discussed various topic of importance to the local community in the EU integration process.

“With the debates that we organise in 15 local communities, we want talk about real problems, issues and dilemmas that citizens have about EU integration process, because we strongly believe that local communities are the bearers of the European integration,” Ambassador Wigemark said, adding that strong local communities make a foundation for a strong and stable country.

One of the examples of local level initiatives is this very municipality of Vitez, which in a very short time established good inter-municipality cooperation, attracted investors and enabled economic development”, said Ambassador Wigemark.

Speaking of the project “Local Community Takes Initiative” German Ambassador to BiH Christiane Hohmann pointed to the support that BiH has in the process of EU integration.

“It is important that all the citizens know that EU wants this country as its member, and we are here to help to overcome the obstacles and challenges as soon as possible”, Ambassador Hohmann said adding that one of the key projects for strengthening entrepreneurship in BiH is funded by the EU and the German Government and implemented by GIZ.

Ambassador of Croatia to BiH Ivan Del Vechio also joined the debate and said that he believes BiH can follow the example of Croatia as its first neighbour.

“By becoming an EU member state, Croatia benefited in many ways as today it is a democratically, legally and economically stronger country which can participate as a member state in making all the important decisions at the EU level”, Ambassador Del Vechio said.

The participants had an opportunity to talk with the regional and local experts on various topics as public-private partnerships and civil society support through EU funds. They also showed interest in business incubators establishment and social entrepreneurship development through youth and national minority employment and self-employment projects.

Ambassadors Wigemark and Hohmann visited two local successful companies, Kristal and Ecos.

Following the debate, participants had an opportunity to visit the informative-education fair organised 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.