Novi Pazar, 14 March 2024

The EU and Novi Pazar partnering for a better quality of life for people

The City of Novi Pazar with the European Union support of over 320,000 Euros will soon complete the construction of a regional Smart City Centre. This Centre will provide a modern business environment and encourage the development of the IT sector and innovative technologies in the city and surrounding municipalities. The Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, Nicola Bertolini, and the Mayor of Novi Pazar Nihat Biševac, during their visit to the project, agreed that this initiative is of great importance for the local economy and the employment of young people in Novi Pazar.

Bertolini and Biševac, while marking the beginning of the project “Road-signs to the EU through Western Serbia and Šumadija” highlighted the long-term cooperation between the EU Delegation and Novi Pazar, which directly contributed to a better life for people in the city. This project, implemented by the European Movement in Serbia, aims to better inform the citizens of Serbia about the European integration process and the opportunities it brings to them.

The Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Nicola Bertolini, pointed out that the European Union has invested as much as four billion Euros in Serbia in the past decade, confirming its position as the main donor, but also as a partner in development.

"Our approach is such that we are not limiting support only to Belgrade, but we are present throughout the country. We support projects in every municipality in Serbia, and we cooperate both with local authorities and with civil society, which we support because it is closest to the citizens. I would especially emphasise the importance of including civil society organisations in the process of European integration, because they represent a bridge between us and the citizens. And our main goal is to create conditions in which young people can prosper, firmly believing that the future of Serbia is in the European Union," said Bertolini, adding that this is his second visit to Novi Pazar because this is also a city of young people.

The mayor Nihat Biševac highlighted the long-term EU support to the City which is concrete and visible in the daily life and work of the citizens of Novi Pazar.

"Our partners and friends from the Delegation of the European Union provide comprehensive support for the social and economic development of Novi Pazar. We worked together to improve quality of life, while numerous projects were implemented in the sectors of education, health, culture, environmental protection, economy", said Mayor Biševac and added that European integration contributes to changes in the way of working and thinking, strategic planning of development and improving the economy. He also added that this project will promote the positive cooperation and tangible results of EU support and that the City will support it as well as iall other European initiatives in Novi Pazar so far.

"The project "Road-signs to the EU through Western Serbia and Šumadija" includes our joint commitment to strengthening ties with the European Union and harmonising our practices and standards with those of our European partners. By improving the visibility of European integration through the improvement of road signs in Western Serbia and Šumadija, we want to symbolise our commitment to progress and reforms, while providing practical help to citizens and travellers going across the region," said Dragana Đurica, General Secretary of the European Movement.

In Novi Pazar, Bertolini also visited projects implemented through the Serbia-Montenegro cross-border cooperation programme that improved the quality of social and health services.

The Association for People with Developmental Disabilities “Tahir Tasa Delić” has thus far improved the quality of life of 70 beneficiaries, children, young people, and adults. The project enabled the introduction of neurofeedback and biofeedback treatment through the procurement of equipment and staff training. In addition, the occupational workshops for making candles and decoupage for beneficiaries were organised, while a van was purchased to provide mobile support to people with disabilities in rural areas through the introduction of field mobile units.

In the Novi Pazar Health Centre, the representative of the EU Delegation had the opportunity to see how, through the Serbia-Montenegro cross-border cooperation project, the quality and availability of services in the field of reproductive health has been improved, along with raising  the awareness of the importance of prevention, especially among socially vulnerable categories, women in rural areas and women with disabilities. During the project, the Novi Pazar Health Centre received new medical equipment, ultrasound devices, gynaecological chairs and a vehicle, which contributed to better equipment of the institution, but also to shortening the waiting period for medical appointments.

"The projects that we are implementing in cooperation with the local self-government are intended primarily for young people, while the projects of the Association for Helping People with Developmental Disabilities and the Health Centre in Novi Pazar are there to support the most vulnerable groups of the population. Taking care of the most vulnerable is a key European value, and seeing it in practice in local communities in Serbia is encouraging," said Nicola Bertolini, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

The Mayor of Novi Pazar, Nihat Biševac, reminded that the EU has supported a number of projects in the field of health, including the construction of the Emergency Ward building, which was completed in 2018 and provides better service to citizens and better working conditions for employees.

"The project that was implemented through the cross-border cooperation Serbia-Montenegro programme is significant as it included the protection of women's reproductive health, early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Together with the EU, we received the necessary equipment for check-ups, but what is particularly important is that we visited a large number of rural areas and reached out to our fellow citizens who, until now, did not have the opportunity to go for preventive check-ups. For us, this is the greatest success of this project," said Ervin Ćorović, director of the Novi Pazar Health Centre.