BOLOGNA, February 26, 2019 – The Minister of the Emilia-Romagna Region Government for European policies, education, professional training, university research and work, Patrizio Bianchi, and the World Bank Country Manager for Croatia, Elisabetta Capannelli, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining a cooperation framework for collaborative activities between the Italian Region of Emilia-Romagna and the World Bank to benefit Eastern Croatia. The collaboration is part of the World Bank’s technical assistance in Croatia to boost growth and jobs in the region of Eastern Croatia through the implementation of the Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.
The region of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem is home to more than one-quarter of Croatia’s unemployed population, and twenty percent of its population is at risk of poverty. The Slavonia region however has strong natural endowments, fertile land, good geographical position, an important university and promising industries. To help the region catch up with the rest of the country, unlock its growth potential and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of EU funding for Eastern Croatia, the Croatian Government launched Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.
"We are very satisfied for the acknowledgement received by the World Bank about the experience gained by Emilia-Romagna Region in programming and management of ESI Funds. These funds are strategic to boost development processes, stimulate investments, productivity and employment. Emilia-Romagna ranks among the first Italian and European regions in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of expenditure of ESI Funds and we are very happy to make available to the Slavonia region our experience and skills in this field. A growing Europe is a Europe for all! For us this is a fundamental principle of cohesion policy. A principle implemented also through cooperation among territories and through the capacity to enhance best practices to allow all the regions to grow and to create added value in view of a real European integration," said Prof. Patrizio Bianchi, Minister in the Regional Government for European Policies, Education, Professional Training, University Research and Work in the Region Emilia-Romagna.
“We are very grateful to the Emilia-Romagna Region for agreeing to participate in this unique cooperation. The Emilia-Romagna Region would share with Croatian counterparts their long-term experience in implementing integrated development policies and how a region can be successful in designing and implementing EU funds. This is the first time that a regional twinning is part of a World Bank Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) agreement. We look forward to seeing our partners in Croatia and the Region Emilia-Romagna benefit from this cooperation,” said Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia.
The cooperation framework will allow stakeholders of Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem to gain experience from the Emilia-Romagna Region’s officials and other experts and exchange practical experience and knowledge. They will also contribute to the process of developing a territorial development strategy for Eastern Croatia for the 2021-2027 programming period.
Since joining the World Bank Group in 1993, Croatia has benefited from the World Bank’s financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services. To date, the World Bank has supported more than 50 operations amounting to around US$3.5 billion. The Bank’s engagement focuses on transport, health, innovation, business environment, land administration, economic development of the Slavonia region, formulation of rural and fisheries strategies and support for the preparation of the National Development Strategy.
RAS are customized advisory services offered by the World Bank to its members, mostly used in borrowing and non-borrowing middle and high-income countries. RAS are requested and paid by the client using their own or third-party resources, in this case as for most of the EU countries, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Like other advisory and analytic services, RAS support clients to design or implement better policies, strengthen institutions, build capacity, inform development strategies or operations, and contribute to the global development agenda. Through these services the World Bank is able to provide global best practices, cutting-edge knowledge products and bring leading global experts to address these various challenges.