Austrian Minister Edtstadler visits NALED

The implementation of complex reforms in Serbia requires three to five years or one full mandate of the government, which rarely happens because we have frequent changes of ministers and this has a bad effect on the reform process. The main goal in the coming years should be to speed up the process of accession to the European Union and create an environment in which those who pay taxes, employ people and create better living conditions will prosper.

This was said by the leaders of NALED at a meeting with the Austrian Minister for EU and Constitutional Affairs, Karolina Edstadtler, who, as part of her official visit to Serbia, expressed her desire to meet with important civil society organizations in our country. She pointed out that Austria is a very vocal supporter of the rapid accession of the entire Western Balkans, but that the moment of joining the EU depends on the speed of implementing reforms.

- Openness and honesty is the only thing that counts in politics and what countries like Serbia need are good friends, not those who tell stories. Help us to help you. Show commitment to the accession process and that you want to stand up for European values, whether it is the issue of sanctions against Russia or the progress of the dialogue with Pristina. There are no quick procedures and shortcuts to the EU. It's up to us to keep our promises, and it's up to you to close clusters and chapters. We are here to help you - emphasized Edstadler, whose visit to NALED was realized in cooperation with the Austrian Network for Business Development in Southeast Europe (SEEBDN).

According to her, the visit to NALED is part of an effort to gain a more comprehensive insight into how Serbia works to implement the EU agenda and where it can support our country in the accession process. Representatives of NALED pointed out that participation in accession negotiations should be possible for all interested parties, especially the economy, which bears the greatest cost of harmonizing domestic regulations with European directives, as well as local governments, which should implement more than 70% of EU regulations.

It was also assessed that communication about the European Union should be simplified so that citizens and businesses better understand the process of accession and the benefits of membership, and it is important to work on connecting with businesses and local governments in the EU member states in order to develop cooperation and exchange best practices.

NALED presented its key reform initiatives, from the introduction of the system of electronic construction permits and the resolution of property issues on real estate, through the reform of seasonal employment to the implementation of the green agenda and the improvement of waste management. A special focus was placed on supporting innovation and the startup community, and the Austrian minister had the opportunity to hear more about the innovative products of grantees who received initial funding for the development of their ideas through the StarTech program supported by Philip Morris company, which is implemented by NALED in cooperation with the Government of Serbia.

A device that helps rehabilitate people with multiple sclerosis by playing video games, a smart dog house, a pet toothbrush, software that converts text into sign language for the deaf and mute, biodegradable seedlings, an indoor bee hive and a platform that lets developers helps to develop solutions based on artificial intelligence, aroused great interest of the Austrian delegation and numerous questions of the minister to the representatives of the companies Neuroblast, Smartsy, Vis Health, Bifrost, RedTech, Golden Bee and Deep Netts.

Alphabet in gold embroidery as a gift

Minister Edstadler was presented with a gift from NALED, with the aim of promoting traditional handicrafts and cultural heritage of Serbia and economic empowerment of women in rural areas. The president of the Board of Directors Vladislav Cvetković and the executive director Violeta Jovanović presented her with an alphabet in gold embroidery with the motifs of Miroslav's Gospel, which was made by women gathered in the Ethno network, which was especially important for the minister considering that she is a great advocate of gender equality and the initiator of the initiative "Next generation is female".

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