UNOPS has been in charge of implementation of the European PROGRES programme, supported by the EU and the Government of Switzerland, which aims to support development in South East and South West Serbia, more specifically in 34 municipalities. As majority of these municipalities can be described as the least developed in Serbia, European PROGRES’ main goal is to improve the capacities of municipalities, as it is the only way to sustainability. In the Programme’s 34 municipalities some of the main problems are unemployment, especially for minorities, lack of opportunities for youth, understaffed and under-budgeted civil society, insufficient media capacities and lack of knowledge and skills that municipalities have to have in order to progress.
Dissatisfaction with the level of information and general awareness of EU integration is caused by improper, administrative and bureaucratic language. Limited knowledge that national and local media have about the accession process only makes the problem more severe, as ordinary citizens do not have access to clear information that would allow them to determine how EU accession would affect their life. Propulsion Fund and Olaf&McAteer have combined forces to launch a campaign with the goal of tackling the lack of awareness inertia and apathy as key obstacles for the positive social change – with the attempt to “inspire change” working with various target groups and aiming at a behavioral change in the field, besides raising awareness.
Empower media and enhancing their capacity to report objectively, clearly and in relevant formats on the EU integration process, providing information to the youth about the benefits of the EU accession and involving them in the process, as well as promoting the benefits of the European integration for ordinary citizens are some of the ways in which this issue is being tackled.