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Around Forty New Projects in the EU PROGRESS

17. July 2012.

Graeme Tyndall, Head of the EU PROGRESS, which is a project supported in Serbia by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland, said that the program would support forty more new projects, as well as that around six million euros had been set aside for the previous projects implemented in twenty-five municipalities in the southern and south-western Serbia.

"The scope of the approved funds ranges from 10,000 euros, which refer primarily to the partnership projects between NGOs and local self-governments, to around 520,000 euros, which is the amount spent on our largest project and refers to supporting the construction of the "Green Zone" in Leskovac, " Mr. Tyndall said.

"The project implemented on the Pester plateau amounts to around 300,000 euros, while the project implemented in Pcinj district, which is related to fruit production, amounts to several hundred thousand euros. Projects of the local self-governments’ offices for infrastructure range up to 100, 000 euros. It is important to point out that the municipalities participate in the co-financing of these projects, "said Mr. Tyndall. He added that by the end of the EU PROGRESS program, between 11 and 12 million euros would be earmarked for supporting local and regional projects.

“It is important to say that the projects and investments that we are currently working on should provide, in the future, millions of investments in the entire area. This area needs to have projects ready for implementation, and we expect to have another 30 projects by the end of the year. It means that the European Union and other donors will be able to immediately invest their funds in the implementation of these projects, "said Mr. Tyndall.

"The cooperation with the local self-governments is a secondary support to the local budgets and it should assist the municipalities with strengthening their capacities. The current situation isn’t ideal, because there are new self- governments the municipalities, so that the municipal capacities will be the field in which will have a lot to do, "said Mr. Tyndall.

He added that the past analysis showed that the operation of the Cadaster should be improved, as well as planning and financial management in the municipalities where the EU PROGRESS implements its projects.

"Serbia and the European Union are in a serious economic crisis, so that large investments shouldn’t be expected. We would like the local self-governments to take advantage of this period and implement specific reforms, so that they could be ready for the more favorable conditions for achieving economic development, "said Mr. Tyndall.

The EU "Progress" was selected as one of the best four UNOPS-funded projects in the world.

“Also important is the permanent donor support, which is provided to us by the European Union, the Swiss Government and the Government of Serbia. The visits of ambassadors to the region are made in order to provide support to the reforms. We, as a program, which has limited resources, can’t satisfy all the needs of the region, which are large. We try to channel our resources to what is strategically most important. The reforms should contribute to Serbia's membership in the European Union and I hope that the EU "Progress" can contribute to that goal, "Mr. Tyndall said.

"UNOPS is a member of the international organization" Transparency "and is obliged to fulfill a number of strict requirements, which include free access to many documents. I think that the

municipalities are increasingly recognizing the importance of good governance and that is a very important issue to the EU "Progress”. We are currently campaigning to promote the concept that will speed up public discussions on the adoption of municipal budgets in the second half of the year" Mr. Tyndall said.