ZAGREB, July 5, 2019 – To learn about the development experience of the Regione Emilia Romagna in Italy and how this experience can benefit the economic development of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, the Minister of Regional Development and EU funds, H.E. Gabrijela Žalac, and the World Bank Country Manager for Croatia, Elisabetta Capannelli, hosted a high-level conference gathering experts and stakeholders of the Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.
Regional Minister for European Affairs, Research, Universities, and Labour, of the Emilia Romagna Regional Government, Professor Patrizio Bianchi, highlighted some of the special features of the development experience of Emilia-Romagna. The Region is not only the home of well-known companies such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati, and Barilla but it is also a leader in the public-private dialogue with labour partners. It has successfully deployed EU funds from multiple Operational Programs and has focused public investments in a well-developed innovation system, anchored in the Region’s universities and research facilities. With the ability to attract EU Funds and private sector investment, the Region is also establishing itself as one of the Big Data Hubs for Europe and aspires to become the Data Valley of Europe.
“Today, we have presented another important component of strengthening our economy, through sharing experiences with regions that have a similar development potential and which are leaders in terms of innovation, technological progress, the development of smart skills and the utilization of EU funds. With the Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, which has been initiated by this Government, we are trying to correct the injustice done to Slavonia all these years, and that was actually our guiding idea. HRK 18.7 billion has been directed to this region, and in the last two and a half years, a total of HRK 10.3 billion has been contracted, which will contribute to the revitalization of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem in every sense. These are the biggest investments in Slavonia so far, and in cooperation with the World Bank they will improve agriculture, education, research and development, entrepreneurship, healthcare, water supply and drainage, cultural and natural heritage, transport and energy of this area.” said Gabrijela Žalac, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds of the Republic of Croatia.
“Emilia Romagna is one of the most innovative and developed regions in Italy and a European leader in EU funds absorption. The cooperation we managed to establish with the Region represents a great opportunity to contribute to the success of Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem. There is a lot to learn from the Region on innovation, agri-business, IT and its University and knowledge network. The World Bank is happy to facilitate this learning exchange between Emilia Romagna and Slavonia, as the two regions, while different in size and level of development, have also commonalities”, said Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia.
The event is part of the cooperation framework signed between the Italian Region of Emilia Romagna and the World Bank. The cooperation framework allows stakeholders of Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem to gain experience from working with the Emilia Romagna Region’s officials and other experts and exchange practical experience and knowledge. The collaboration is part of the World Bank’s technical assistance in Croatia to boost growth and jobs in the region of Eastern Croatia supporting the Project Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.
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 more than EUR3 billion. The Bank’s current engagement focuses on transport, health, innovation, business environment, land administration, agriculture, economic development of the Slavonia regions and support for the preparation of the National Development Strategy.