President of the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina Bojan Pajtić, PhD, held a meeting with Ms Ružica Gelo, Director of the Sector for International Affairs at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and her associates. Ms Ružica Gelo has substantial experience that she gained, among other things, as one of the negotiators with the EU in the Croatian negotiating team for Agriculture.
Main topic of the meeting was rural and agricultural development in Vojvodina. Meeting was attended by Branislav Bugarski, Provincial Secretary for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government and acting Provincial Secretary for Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, Siniša Lazić, Director of the European Affairs Fund of AP of Vojvodina, Ivana Stefanović Ristin, Citizens’ Association “Leader plus” and Saša Bukovac, Croatian Chamber of Economy.
According to the Province’s plan, until 2020 villages in Vojvodina should be much more competitive, farmers better informed and financially stronger. It was pointed out that Croatian development opportunities in agriculture and other areas should be seen as an incentive for common interests. As the guests stated, it should be kept in mind that, for this work, it is crucial to have help from the state. Vojvodina has already made some steps in that direction since it created institutions with the role to strengthen existing economic system. Development Fund, Guarantee Fund, Fund for Agricultural Development, European Affairs Fund, and Vojvodina Investment Promotion represent important strategic basis for strengthening economy and villages in the Province.
Participants of the meeting concluded that the experience of Republic of Croatia could be valuable to Vojvodina and Serbia. It was pointed out that Croatia has 750 million euros from EU at its disposal for this year, only for agriculture.
Participants of the meeting agreed that building scientific, expert and administrative capacities that Vojvodina uses to support agriculture and rural development is of great importance for efficient managing and effective usage of pre-accession assistance planned for Serbia, that our country should use to the maximum extent.