The new Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Head of Department, Mr Christian Dons Christensen, accompanied by Danish Ambassador to Serbia, Ms Mette Kjuel Nielsen, visited the Danish Programmes in Serbia - LEDIB and Fruits & Berries.
As the new Head of Department for Europe and Russia Neighbourhood Programme, he is touring all the Missions, and the first stop is Serbia in which Danish Neighbourhood Programme has two activities - LEDIB and Fruits & Berries.
Accompanied by Ambassador Nielsen, Christensen met with LEDIB Programme Serbia Director, Carsten Lund, who, with the help of Components Coordinators, introduced him to the result achieved in Nisava District.
During the past three years, efforts focused on economic development and unemployment reduction through Enabling Business Environment for SMEs and SME Development Components, resulting in numerous projects. Capacity building of local governments in Nisava District consists of more than eleven modules of trainings, numerous municipal projects in two cycles, twinning of Serbian and Danish towns Aarhus, Vejle, Samsoe and Lolland and Slovenian Sentjernerr, development of Agricultural Advisory Service, development of Business Membership Organizations.
Development of Business Organizations initiated LEDIB’s cooperation with Regional Chamber of Commerce Nis, in whose premises LEDIB Cluster House was opened at the end of last year. German programme HELP Office has recently been opened there as well, making a long lasting cooperation official.
During the visit to LEDIB Cluster House, Christensen talked to Mr Goran Zlatkovic, Board of Directors President, Ms Jasna Stevovic, Union of Start-up Clusters President, Mr Zoran Zlatkovic, of Opeka-Brick Construction Cluster, Mr Vojkan Milovanovic, HELP representative and Ms Danka Milojkovic. He also briefly visited participants of the specialized training for unemployed persons taking place at LEDIB Cluster House till the end of November.
He has shown a special interest in cluster development and how much small companies are interested in such a way of associating. Ms Stevovic pointed out the increase in the number of members since the founding of Union, now consisting of two mature Clusters with companies that have been operating for a long time, along with seven Start-up Clusters. The Union offers its members the possibility to use Show Room as well as technical and advisory – consulting services within LEDIB Cluster House.
Local Economic Development in the Balkans (LEDIB) is the programme created to support local economic development, focusing on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This five-year programme was initiated in 2007. LEDIB is a part of the Danish Neighbourhood Programme, along with Fruits & Berries Programme. Both activities are focusing on South Serbia – LEDIB on Nisava District and Fruits & Berries on Jablanica, Nisava, Pcinja and Toplica Districts, and within these districts on five value chains: raspberries, sour cherries, strawberries, blueberries and plums.
The Neighbourhood Programme is Denmark's bilateral programme for EU's neighbouring countries to the East and West. The overall objective of the Programme is to promote an open and democratic society, based on rule of law, stable economy and political development. The Programme supports Denmark's foreign policy priority of promoting successful, peaceful and stable Europe.