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European Union Structural and Cohesion Funds and Civil Society Organizations

The European Commission in partnership with the TACSO Croatia Office and Foundation „Slagalica” organised from 11-12 September 2012 in Hotel Osijek in Osijek a seminar entitled “European Union Structural and Cohesion Funds and Civil Society Organisations”. The seminar’s objective was to inform and present the possibilities that programming and implementation of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds offer to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Presentations were held by eminent experts from the EU, as well as by representatives of the relevant Croatian institutions in charge of EU funds administration. Around fifty CSO representatives from all over Croatia participated in the seminar.
Mr. Igor Vidačak, Director of the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, Mr. Stjepan Ribić, Director of the Regional Development Agency for Slavonia and Baranja and Ms. Branka Kaselj, Director of the Foundation „Slagalica“ welcomed the participants.
On the first day of the seminar, Ms. Iwona Karwot from the European Institute of Public Administration presented a review of funds available for the period 2014 - 2020. Ms. Teodora Donsz-Kovacs from the organisation Sustainable Future emphasized the importance of partnerships in the implementation of Funds.
Ms. Ingrid Gardiner (National Council for Volunteer Organisations, UK), Mr. Andrew Churchill (Network for Europe, UK), Mr. Goran Forbici (Centre for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs – CNVOS, Slovenia) and Mr. Roman Haken (Centre for Community Organising, Czech Republic) provided insights into ways to strengthen civil society inclusion in Structural Funds.
On the second day of the seminar, Mr. Luka Rajčić (Ministry of Labour and Pension System, Croatia) and Ms. Vlatka Marčan (Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, Croatia) presented the system for the management of the Structural and Cohesion Funds in Croatia. The seminar ended with a discussion on the implementation of the partnership principle for collaboration between the government and public institutions and CSOs.
In her closing address, Ms. Irena Slunjski, Project Officer in the TACSO Croatia Office emphasized the importance of regional and cross-border cooperation in the implementation of EU funded projects.
One of the most prominent results of the seminar was the participants’ request to include CSO representatives into the Working Groups for the preparation of the Operational Programme for Human Resources Development for the forthcoming period (2014 – 2020). The participants believed that CSOs should actively participate in the preparation of procedures for the implementation of projects and public procurement, as well as in definition of projects’ co-financing and pre-financing amounts.
An official request was forwarded to the Council for Civil Society Development, which should - jointly with the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs – implement a public nomination and selection process for the Working Groups’ members. This request was unanimously accepted at the Council’s session held immediately after the seminar on 14 September 2012. The Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs will forward this request to the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds, as also agreed during the said Council’s session.
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