AER was honoured to welcome delegates from the Sumadija and Pomoravlje region (Serbia) on 15 October in Brussels. The Mayors in the delegation represent the regional development agency of that region and met with the Acting Secretary General, Mathieu Mori and Mujo Hadzic, Détaché advisor for Intergovernmantal Relations, to exchange on their potential involvement in AER.
The delegates presented the strengths and weaknesses of their territory which has a very diverse economy, based on agriculture, industry and tourism. The region is home to 20.000 students and is recognised as an attractive market for foreign investors. Unfortunately, the region suffers from brain drain due to the high unemployment rate of young people.
This is a classic example of how membership in the organisation would be a win-win situation, for a region that has much to showcase and share with others but is also eager to learn from other regions across Europe to tackle local challenges.
In addition, the region has been witnessing the long accession procedure to the EU fort he Republic of Serbia and is willing to embrace European cooperation regardless of the state of play of the discussions on national level. Hopefully, enhanced cooperation with the EU on local and regional level will weigh favorably on the accession procedure.