Local Community Takes Initiative
The twelfth debate on local development was held on 30 May in Stolac within the project ‘Local Community Takes Initiative’ by European Union Special Representative (EUSR) in BiH.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EUSR Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, who hosted the debate, said that Stolac has many natural landmarks and a rich cultural and historic heritage, which represent extraordinary potential for the development of tourism as well as for other sectors.
“We are here to talk with the citizens of Stolac about all the issues related to the process of European integration but also to hear their opinion about the EU”, Ambassador Wigemark said and added that so far he has spoken about EU integration with the political leaders, but that including local community and citizens in the process is essential.
Ambassador of Croatia to BiH Ivan Del Vechio also attended the debate and pointed to the importance and role of youth in the process of EU integration.
“University and high school students are those who must know about all the tools and advantages that the EU gives them”, Ambassador Del Vechio said and highlighted that motivation is the key factor for the engagement of youth.
Speaking about the importance of the project and possibilities that the accession process gives to local communities, regional expert Daniel Mondekar stressed huge potential in the agriculture sector.
“The EU policies in the sector encourage the development of agricultural entrepreneurship and production of more quality products”, Mondekar said. He also highlighted the importance of advisory services for farmers.
The citizens of Stolac were interested in the possibilities for connecting and cooperation between business people, establishment of business clusters and strengthening the potential of their municipality.
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.