Local Community Takes Initiative
Better roads, better business climate and building of business zones were just some of the topics covered during the eight debate on the role of local community in the process of the EU integration, held today in Foča. Head of Delegation of the EU to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark hosted the debate.
“The local communities in this country will be the ones to benefit most from the EU integration and that is why we are here to talk about all the matters of the highest importance for improving lives of all citizens of Foča, such as economy, education, quality of health care and dealing with unemployment”, Ambassador Wigemark said and highlighted the significant progress that the Municipality of Foča has made and its extraordinary development potential.
“The Municipality of Foča cooperates with the neighbouring municipalities and its traditional connection with the countries of the region such as Serbia and Montenegro is extremely important for the European path of Western Balkans”, Ambassador Wigemark pointed and noted that it is one of the most beautiful regions in the country.
German Ambassador Christiane Hohmann also attended the debate and emphasized the role of local communities and citizens on the EU integration road.
“BiH is expecting many changes on the road to the EU but we are here to go together through the process that will boost economic growth and improve life conditions of all citizens”, Ambassador Hohmann said.
Speaking about Montenegro’s experience in the process of joining the EU, coordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network Ljiljana Belada said that BiH’s citizens should look at the EU path as a path of growth, improvement and creating better conditions for economic competitiveness.
“Local communities should be committed to creating a positive business climate and development of small and medium enterprises”, Belada said and noted that the Enterprise Europe Network was created in BiH last year.
The participants in the debate used the opportunity to talk with the ambassadors and regional and local experts about improvement of road infrastructure, enhancing business climate, building business zones and creating equal work conditions for public and private sector.
Ambassador Wigemark visited a local branch of Tešanj-based workwear factory Trend-Tex Group, which employs and trains returnees. He also visited the National Park Sutjeska, located in the territory of Foča municipality, and is the biggest and the oldest national park in the country.
Following the debate, participants had an opportunity to visit the informative-education fair organised by the 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.