July 27, 2023 – Osijek and Paris are among the ten European cities included in the project Cities@Heart. It is implemented within the European Union program URBACT IV framework, sponsored by the 1st Action Planning Network Call.
This invitation to the city administration of Osijek came from the City of Paris, which is the project holder. It was not a beginning (of a new one) but a continuation of their previously established friendship, writes Glas Slavonije.
“We joined this EU project at the invitation of the French capital, Paris. The goal of this international cooperation, which includes eight other cities from Western Europe in addition to Paris and Osijek, is to achieve sustainable urban development through the creation of networks of cities that exchange good practices and ideas. I am sure that Osijek, recognized in Europe as a reliable partner and as the bearer of sustainable development in its region, will have something to learn through this project and get to share its experiences – said the mayor of Osijek, Ivan Radić.
At the start of the year, at the invitation of the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, Mayor Radić participated in the “Future Leaders Invitation Program” (PIPA) intended for future leaders. During his stay in Paris, Strasbourg, and Metz, Radić participated in constructive meetings in the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, the Senate, and the cities of Metz and Strasbourg. He is the only one from Croatia who recently participated in this personalized program intended for future leaders from all over the world to achieve the best possible relations and acquaintances with representatives of the French state and local authorities and institutions, as well as with entrepreneurs.
Ambassador Gael Veyssière assessed his stay in France as “an important step in the development of cooperation between French institutions with Osijek and the Osijek region,” confirmed through the ongoing URBACT project.
In addition to Paris and Osijek, the project includes the cities of Cesena (Italy), Fleurus (Belgium), Sligo (Ireland), Granada (Spain), Krakow (Poland), Celje (Slovenia), Quadrilatero Association (Portugal) and Amfiktyonies (Greece).
Osijek Part of Important Network
The project aims to create a common methodology by partnering cities of different sizes and backgrounds that can be adapted to each territory to support the decision-making process, implementation, efficiency, and smooth running of sustainable urban policies and to capture the pulse of the hearts of cities – city centers – and better understand what the citizens need and like in those places.
The City of Osijek will, to ensure that the stages and decisions of implementation follow actions at all levels, form a local partnership that includes relevant local stakeholders such as the national and/or regional body responsible for the area of sustainable urban development, local administrations of city centers and any relevant stakeholder in the areas of addressing challenges.
The planned project activities of the City of Osijek include project management, assuming the role and carrying out activities as stated in the working program, participation in planned international meetings, and contribution to the development of the Basic Study network plan. The projected duration of the project is 31 months, and the project budget of the City of Osijek will amount to 74 thousand euros.
This project is just one of the moves pushing Osijek towards becoming an international hub. Recently, a direct Osijek-London-Osijek flight was established, the American company Jabil made significant investments, and foreign ambassadors accredited in Croatia have shown more and more interest in the city of Osijek.