European Union External Action

Bosnia and Herzegovina: EU supports local development and jobs in flood-affected areas

26/01/2018 - 17:14

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU Programme for Local Development and Employment is demonstrating the continued support of the European Union to flood-affected localities, as well as EU endeavour to move from recovery to socio-economic development. EU support to all levels of society across the region is critical to enhancing the stability and development of the Western Balkans, as well as their European integration.

Bosnia Herzegovina, Western Balkans, European Union, EU, enlargement, floods, recovery, growth, jobs, stability, security, development, EEAS, Mogherini

With the support of the EU grant funds provided by the EU ProLocal programme, Tursunprom, a wood-processing company from Gračanica, has increased the scope of its production by 100% and created ten new jobs. Tursunprom is export-oriented, and exports more than half of its products to the French market. By increasing the scope of production, the company has been able to open up new possibilities are for placement on international markets.

EU grant funds were awarded to Tursunprom as one of 57 development projects within the EU-funded ProLocal programme implemented by GIZ. The Programme is focused on strengthening competitiveness of SMEs in flood-affected areas. EU ProLocal focuses on SMEs from the four most dynamic sectors in BiH – wood processing, metal production, agri-business and tourism.

Another internationally-oriented grantee is the metal production company Vin-Metal from Žepče Municipality, which has already found a place in the Austrian and German market. Expatriates from Žepče helped promote the company, which has strengthened its competitiveness in the domestic market thanks to purchasing new equipment through its EU grant.

Furniture company Fantasy Unikat from Zenica also used its EU grant to obtain equipment and connect with similar companies in the international market. The grant helped increase the speed and scope of production of the company, which hired three new employees instead of the originally planned two.

The EU ProLocal programme operates within the wider EU Programme for Local Development and Employment, worth EUR 19 million, which will work across a three-year period to enhance living standards, create job opportunities, promote social inclusion and improve the quality of life for the citizens in more than 40 flood-affected communities. Priority is given to areas with a large percentage of socially excluded and vulnerable groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina (returnees, internally displaced persons, unemployed women, elderly, Roma, people with disabilities and long-term unemployed).

In May 2014, heavy rains fell over Bosnia and Herzegovina causing intense floods, which affected 1 million people and destroyed infrastructure, businesses, livelihoods, farms and crops. The EU Programme for Local Development and Employment, launched in 2016, and implemented by UNDP, GIZ and ILO, is showing the continued commitment of the European Union to flood-affected localities the country as well as EU endeavour to move from recovery to socio-economic development.