In the past ten years, much has been done in Serbia for the development of local self-rules. In addition to budget subsidies, development projects in municipalities and cities have been financed by international organizations as well. The positive results of those activities were confirmed by the Third Fair of Local Self Rules, held in Belgrade recently. According to Serbian President Boris Tadic, who visited the Fair, some municipalities achieved good results even at the time of the economic crisis and can serve as a model for others.
An important segment of the government’s policy is occupied by a more balanced regional development, aimed at creating conditions for investments and new jobs in all the towns and municipalities. The state has assumed the obligation of building infrastructure, as it is very important for investors to provide production plants with access to motorways and railway transport and with connections to the electric power and gas network. Other conditions should be fulfilled by local self-rules, through a better business climate. The global crisis has been going on and it is necessary that state institutions and local self rules do everything to create conditions to attract new direct foreign investments to Serbia, said Tadic, emphasizing some municipalities have displayed great skill and ability for attracting investors, by applying a more efficient licence issue procedure and administration and by curbing corruption.
As for the competences of local self rules, they are mainly expected to provide adequate construction land and efficeint administration. It is in thos field that the most progress has been made in the past decades. Today, almost all the municipalities, from the least to the most developed ones, have construction plans or already completed industrial zones, in which they offer favourable business conditions. Besides secured infrastructure, the companies doing business in those zones are mostly exempted from local duties and fees. The only difference lies in the fact that small municipalities are interested in opening production plants, whereas big towns and cities aim to attract technologically developed industries.
It is estimated that in the past ten years Serbia has obtained some 1.7 billion EUR of donations for the promotion of state administration and local self-rules. Owing to programmes funded by the EU, international agencies and some governments, municipal representatives have been trained to launch initiatives and realize projects of importance to local and regional development. If one would like to invest capital in a town or municipality, they can address local authorities directly, which is a big progress, as everything used to depend on central authorities before. Considering the offer of projects at this year’s Fair, progress has been made in the number of various investment fields. In addition to ordinary agricultural production, investments in organic food production are now being encouraged. A lot of projects refer to renewable energy sources, such as wind parks and small hydro electric power plants. The considerable progress made by local self rules in Serbia represents a boost to the overall development of our country.