Local communities are the backbone of society

Local Community Takes Initiative

Efficiency of public administration, access to the EU funds and challenges of youth employment and self-employment were the main topics discussed during the eleventh debate on local economic development, held today in Široki Brijeg.

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark welcomed the participants of the debate organised within the EUSR’s project “Local Community Takes Initiative”.

“Local communities are the foundation of the development of this country and when I look at the previous public debates with the citizens across BiH I am impressed by the dynamics of development of cities and municipalities in this country, including the city of Široki Brijeg”, ambassador Wigemark said and stressed that local communities are the backbone of any society.

Polish Ambassador to BiH Andrzej Krawczyk also attended the debate and said that Poland worked on building the capacity of the local communities during the EU accession process.

“Local government with strong competences is one of successful Polish models that can serve as a good example for BiH”, Ambassador Krawczyk said.

Regional expert for EU integration Danijel Mondekar spoke about the experiences of neighboring Croatia and pointed to the importance of this project.

“One of the mistakes Croatia made during the accession process was the lack of clear communication concept at the local level. A project like this is an opportunity for local communities and the society as whole to be more involved in the process of EU integration”, Mondekar said.

Following the debate, participants had the 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.