Gracanica hosted first Panel discussion on European initiatives for development of rural communities within the EU project “Get to know EU”

Municipality of Gracanica yesterday hosted first presentation and Panel discussion on European initiatives for development of rural communities. Its aim was to contribute to better knowledge and understanding of the EU, its policies and programmes for rural development, as well as the benefits for candidate and potential candidate countries as well as EU Member States. The aim was also to provide and present information on the possibilities of preparing for the LEADER programme, and to establish mechanisms for continuous exchange of information and dialogue for applying this approach in BiH.

The presentation was attended by representatives of the relevant municipal departments, local communities, agricultural cooperatives, entrepreneurs, producers, processors and NGOs. Participants were introduced with the benefits of BiH getting closer to the European Union, especially when it comes to development of agriculture and rural communities, as well as to investments in rural development projects. Participants also had the opportunity to present their perspective on the advantages of adapting to EU standards in the development of agriculture and to discuss possibilities of improving agricultural and rural development in the municipality of Gracanica.

This panel discussion is one of ten planned under the project “Get to know the EU”. Project is funded by the European Union in the amount of 33.600 EUR from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA 2010). The project is planned to include at least 500 representatives interested in rural development in north-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a dialogue about the process of Euroepan integration by promoting EU LEADER approach to rural development.

LEADER approach to rural development is a method of mobilizing and delivering rural development in local communities. In the EU Member States this approach has achieved valuable results, and it could play an important role in helping rural communities of the new EU Member States, candidate and potential candidate countries by helping them to adapt to change.

More than half the EU population lives in rural areas that cover 90% of the territory of the Union. In the framework of rural development policy, the EU LEADER is an innovative approach that encourages rural areas to discover new ways to become or remain competitive, and how to, in the best way make use of their strengths and successfully overcome all the obstacles they face. BiH could already now on its road to the European Union adapt its own tendency of rural development to European standards and strive to further improve the overall quality of living and working in rural areas.

After a successful panel discussion in municipality of Gracanica, the project plans to continue with the panel discussion in municipalities Tuzla, Zivinice, Lukavac, Gradacac, Brcko, Bijeljina, Zvornik, Modrica and Derventa.