Round Table on Post-Earthquake Reconstruction and Development of Banija held in the Office of the President
A round table on the topic of reconstructing and developing the Banija area was held today in the Office of the President of the Republic. At the round table, which was attended by President Zoran Milanović, the topic of reconstructing and developing the Banija area was discussed by Croatian and international experts who have contributed to the preparation of various documents and strategies for the reconstruction and development of this earthquake-stricken area of Croatia.
After the meeting, the President’s Special Adviser for the Economy Velibor Mačkić publicly announced which topics were discussed and presented the goals and conclusions of the round table discussion. Special Adviser Mačkić explained that the Office of the President deemed it necessary for the institutions and their representatives, who are taking part in efforts aimed at reconstructing and developing Banija, to be invited to the Office of the President and be given the opportunity to lay out their contributions of expertise to the endeavour.
“A study of the working group that the President of the Republic formed two weeks after the earthquake, which represents the group’s long-term vision, was also presented. What matters, what is important and the message we would like to send is this: although the goals in the various documents vary because of the different timeframes – short-term and long-term – it is clear that the documents essentially complement each other and that they can have synergistic benefits,” Special Adviser Mačkić underscored.
“Things are moving forward in Banija but not fast enough, although we are convinced that this can be fixed. Today we discussed the different time periods and sectors that are important for stimulating (progress). We are acting in accordance with what the President himself has said, and that is that he will be a constructive factor,” Special Adviser Mačkić concluded.
Responding to questions from reporters, Special Adviser Mačkić highlighted the importance of distinguishing between two things: reconstruction, which is short-term, and development, which is holistic and long-term. “We are making ourselves available and with this event we are extending a helping hand, as we wait for a decision to be made,” he said, adding that public sector intervention will be needed throughout the entire process.
Participating in the round table were the following round table guests and members of the President’s Banija Working Group: Jehan Arulpragasam, Director of the World Bank Office Croatia; Ferdo Bašić, Secretary of the Department of Natural Sciences at the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts; Ivica Kisić, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, and Head of Research for the study ‘Renewal of agriculture and rural areas in the Banovina area’; Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD Director; Damir Zorić, General Director of the Croatian Employers´ Association; Saša Drezgić, Centre for Local Economic Development, Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Rijeka (CLER d.o.o.) and one of the authors of the Programme of social and economic revitalization of the assisted areas of Sisak-Moslavina County affected by the earthquake, and a member of the President’s Banija Working Group; Ivo Grgić, member of the Expert Team for providing professional support to the development of assisted areas in the Republic of Croatia; Irena Đokić, member of the Expert Team for providing professional support to the development of assisted areas in the Republic of Croatia; Iva Tomić, Chief Economist at the Croatian Employers’ Association and member of the President’s Economic Council; Kazimir Luka Bačić, World Bank Operations Officer; Krunoslav Katić, World Bank Consultant. Participating as members of the President’s Banija Working Group were the following: Marijana Sumpor, Consultant, Director at Euro ekspertiza j.d.o.o.; Nenad Starc, Meritorious Researcher at the Institute of Economics in Zagreb; Vinko Muštra, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism of the University of Split; Lana Peternel, Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb; Igor Matutinović, Lecturer at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management.
Also participating in the round table event alongside President Milanović, apart from Special Adviser to the President of the Republic for the Economy Velibor Mačkić, was Assistant to the President’s Special Adviser for the Economy Martina Ciglević.
PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Ana Marija Katić