Aleksinac, 7 February 2019

Kingdom of Norway remains a reliable partner to the Republic of Serbia

In the course of the event held today in the Aleksinac Culture and Arts Centre marking the long-standing cooperation between the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Serbia, specifically within the scope of “Norway for You” project, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and Royal Norwegian Ambassador Arne Sanes Bjørnstad confirmed the importance of friendship between the two countries and expressed their belief that their cooperation will yield manifold benefits for Serbian citizens. During the event Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Đorđević and Minister of Public Administration and Local-Self Government Mr Branko Ružić exchanged ideas with many mayors included in the project regarding further avenues of assistance and support and recapped relevant projects that the Kingdom of Norway funded in Serbia with over 250 million Euros, spanning more than two decades.

After reminding how Norway stood alongside Serbia in its hardest times - such as during the floods that struck Serbia in May 2014 - President Aleksandar Vučić stressed the plethora of benefits from the assistance provided by the Scandinavian nation. “The importance of Norwegian support to our country is not only in money, as much as it may be important; what is important is that we were taught how to manage funds better, how to spend them transparently, how to respect procedures and utilise the funds wisely”, Vučić said.

The 4.27 million Euros project “Norway for You”, providing support to 91 local self-governments from the third and fourth development groups respectively, is one such projects currently bankrolled by the Kingdom of Norway. In line with this project’s focus on increasing possibilities for employment of vulnerable groups, enhancing social cohesion and inclusion and improving infrastructure, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway Arne Sanes Bjørnstad pointed to the focus on ideas coming from representatives of towns and municipalities - so that Norway may assist their implementation.

“I was in a position to witness positive changes taking place in Serbia over the last decade or two, but we understand there are still parts of your country lagging behind the developed towns and municipalities. This is precisely why we are here with the project “Norway for You” - to support less developed communities to improve the quality of life in line with the needs they may have”, the ambassador said, adding that Norway’s goal was to empower these communities to help themselves, and help the country reach equitable development.

A series of discussion about possible forms of support and potential for cooperation followed after presentations of best practice examples where Ministers Ružić and Đorđević joined in with the President, Ambassador and Heads of local governments. “The Ministry of Labour achieved excellent results last year with the support from the Kingdom of Norway, through the project ‘Say NO to Unregistered Work’”, Đorđević said. “The Ministry will continue working to improve the workers’ position and rights and create a favourable environment to attract new investors, and we are counting on the Kingdom of Norway as a trusted partner and friend of our country to help us in this endeavour”.

Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ružić emphasized how “Norway for You” is focusing on local level needs and invited local self-governments to utilise any form of assistance provided, as it will bring about better life for their citizens. “The Kingdom of Norway is a multiple-project donor, but this one focuses on the needs of towns and municipalities like broader employment, social cohesion and greater security of e-government”, Ružić said.

Local Governments included in the Project:

Aleksinac, Alibunar, Babušnica, Bač, Bajina Bašta, Batočina, Bela Crkva, Bela Palanka, Blace, Bogatić, Bojnik, Boljevac, Bosilegrad, Brus, Bujanovac, Crna Trava, Čoka, Ćićevac, Ćuprija, Despotovac, Dimitrovgrad, Doljevac, Gadžin Han, Golubac, Irig, Ivanjica, Kladovo, Knić, Knjaževac, Koceljeva, Kovačica, Kovin, Kraljevo, Krupanj, Kučevo, Kuršumlija, Lebane, Leskovac, Loznica, Lučani, Ljig, Ljubovija, Mali Iđoš, Mali Zvornik, Malo Crniće, Medveđa, Merošina, Mionica, Negotin, Nova Crnja, Nova Varoš, Novi Bečej, Novi Pazar, Odžaci, Opovo, Osečina, Paraćin, Petrovac na Mlavi, Plandište, Preševo, Priboj, Prijepolje, Prokuplje, Raška, Ražanj, Rekovac, Sečanj, Sjenica, Smederevska Palanka, Sokobanja, Srbobran, Surdulica, Svilajnac, Svrljig, Šid,  Titel, Trgovište, Trstenik, Tutin, Ub, Varvarin, Velika Plana, Veliko Gradište, Vladičin Han, Vladimirci, Vlasotince, Žabalj, Žabari, Žagubica, Žitište, Žitorađa.