Gabrijela Žalac and Elisabetta Capannelli (Photo: Robert Anic/PIXSELL) Gabrijela Žalac and Elisabetta Capannelli (Photo: Robert Anic/PIXSELL)

Experts say investments in research, innovation and human resources are the key to Slavonia's future development, as well as the engaged and sustained cooperation of all relevant stakeholders.

Last year, the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds signed a three-year pact with the World Bank to provide technical assistance in increasing growth and employment by implementing the government's strategic Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Project.

As part of the development agreement, the World Bank has established cooperation links with Italy's thriving Emilia-Romagna region, which will help provide development experience towards the economic development of the eastern Croatian regions Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.

Emilia-Romagna is the seat of several global companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati and the Barilla food company. In the period between 2014 and 2020, the region will have absorbed some 1.15 billion euros in EU funds and it has defined its regional strategy through a business pact signed by the region's main stakeholders.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister, Gabrijela Žalac, said the deal presented another important component for the strengthening of the Croatian economy, "through sharing experiences with regions that have a similar development potential and which are leaders in terms of innovation, technological progress, as well as the development of smart skills and the utilization of EU funds."

Elisabetta Capannelli, the World Bank's Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia, said the project was at the forefront of the World Bank's strategy in Croatia for the next five years.

Source: HRT