Niš, Bosilegrad, 10 August 2023

EU is a reliable partner to Niš and Bosilegrad

The Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, Nicola Bertolini, was today, during the second day of his visit to the south of Serbia, in Bosilegrad and Niš, where he had the opportunity to see how the EU-funded projects aimed at local development are implemented.

During his stay in Niš, Nicola Bertolini expressed his satisfaction with his return visit to the city as well as the projects he visited.

"Niš is a reliable partner of the European Union and this is why the EU taxpayers' money is invested in the City. The projects that we saw today represent good examples of this cooperation and EU priorities. On the one hand, the focus is on the protection and safety of children, and on the other, the preservation and promotion of culture, two topics of great importance for a strong community”, said Nicola Bertolini.

In Niš, Bertolini with the Mayor Dragana Sotirovski visited the works on improving the energy efficiency of the Puppet Theatre building, which the City of Niš is carrying out with the support of the European Union in the amount of over 170,000 Euros allocated through the EU PRO Plus programme. After the complete replacement of the old heating installations with a modern air conditioning system, the youngest citizens of Niš will be able to watch theatre plays in much better conditions. At the "Sveti Sava" Centre for Social Work, Bertolini and Sotirovska had the opportunity to see the technical equipment that was acquired with the support of the EU, which is needed to establish a forensic interview service with a child. In the "Zalogaj Juga" Tasting Centre, which was opened by the Association of catering, hotel and tourist workers of Niš, they had the opportunity to see how the EU helped improve the capacity and expand the market of small and medium-sized enterprises in southern Serbia in the tourism and hospitality sector.

"These are good examples that show how together with the European Union we work to improve living conditions in our community, and today we saw support in three different areas. Here where we are now, in the Association of catering, hotel and tourist workers of Niš, future entrepreneurs will be trained, while the centre for social work has a new service that will enable the youngest to be protected from abuse. And what we have long expected as a city, that in the year when the Puppet Theatre celebrates 65 years of existence, thanks to the help of the European Union, we get the reconstruction of that building and the possibility that the 30,000 children who visit the theatre every year have better conditions to enjoy puppet shows", said the mayor Niša Dragana Sotirovski.

During his stay in Bosilegrad, Bertolini with the Mayor Vladimir Zaharijev visited the works on the construction of a social protection institution as a temporary accommodation for socially vulnerable persons who face homelessness, lack of work and adequate health care. The facility will be established by adapting the building of the former Veterinary Station with EU grants of 179,000 Euros.

"The European Union and Bosilegrad are long-term partners, which is confirmed by this project, and the investment in municipalities further from Belgrade should be greater, because here we see that local selfgovernment is trying to keep young people in the municipality, which the EU will continue to support," said Nicola Bertolini.

Bosilegrad Mayor Vladimir Zaharijev said that with the support of the European Union and the Government of Serbia, the municipality will now be able to respond to the needs for this type of social protection and will be ready to take care of the most urgent cases. As he added, the issue of the economy is of the greatest importance for Bosilegrad, and that is why he thanked the new EU support of 300,000 Euros, provided through the EU PRO Plus programme, which will be invested in the coming period in the reconstruction and equipping of the former textile factory "Kobos", which is owned by the local self-government, and thus create conditions for new investments