Interethnische Toleranz und Zusammenarbeit in der Euroregio DKMT

Schwerpunkt dieser Konferenz war die Förderung der grenzübergreifenden Zusammenarbeit. Die Vertreter der lokalen Verwaltung erklärten, was auf dem Gebiet der regionalen Zusammenarbeit gemacht wurde und welche Aufgaben noch anstehen.






NOVI SAD, 20TH of February 2004.

Regional conference INTERETHNIC TOLERANCE AND COOPERATION OF CITIZENS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN EUROREGION ″DUNAV – KRIŠ– MORIŠ – TISA″ was held in Novi Sad, on February 20th, in the framework of the CAMPAIGN FOR CREATING NEW TRIANGLES (CIRCLES) OF COOPERATION IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ON THE BASIS OF INTERETHNIC TOLERANCE AGREEMENT. Over fifty representatives of municipalities and NGOs from Djula, Szeged, Baja (Hungary), Timisoara, Jimbolia, Arad, Deva (Romania), Novi Sad, Sombor, Bačka Palanka, Sremska Mitrovica, Kikinda, Novi Bečej, Senta, Zrenjanin and Kula (Vojvodina-Serbia) participated in the conference.

At the beginning of the conference, participants were welcomed by Sandor Egeresi, vice-president of the Assembly of Vojvodina, Borislav Novaković, president of the City Assembly of Novi Sad, Marija Kojić, representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Belgrade Office, Hedvig Morvai, director of the General Secretariat of the Citizens’ Pact for SEE and Stelios Beys-Kamnarokos, political advisor at the OSCE Mission in Belgrade. In his speech, Kamnarokos conveyed greetings of Ambassador Maurizio Massari, while pointing out the support given by OSCE Mission to projects like this, dedicated to rebuilding cooperation and relations in the region, as well as to the improvement of atmosphere of interethnic tolerance and understanding.

Aleksandar Popov, director of the Center for Regionalism, presented the basics of the campaign for creation of ten new triangles, i.e. circles of cooperation in Southeastern Europe, based on Interethnic Tolerance Agreement, lead by Center for Regionalism, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Citizens’ Pact for SEE. In this campaign, cooperation between Tuzla, Osijek and Novi Sad, which was successfully carried out for over two years with excellent results, now serves as a model. Within this Agreement, cooperation between regional chambers of commerce and contacts between many cultural workers were established. Athletic marathon Novi Sad – Osijek – Tuzla, organized in October 2003, should develop into a traditional event. Up to now, in the framework of the campaign, Interethnic Tolerance Agreement was promoted in a great number of regional cities. After this campaign, there is a great probability of creation of following triangles, i.e. circles of cooperation:

1. Zagreb – Beograd – Sarajevo,

1.Zaječar – Vidin – Kalafat,

2.Kotor – Split – Mostar,

3.Preševo – Gnjilane – Kumanovo,

4.Prizren – Bar – Skadar,

5.Prijedor – Bihać – Karlovac,

6.Niš – Skoplje – Sofija,

7.Srebrenica – Bajina Bašta – Ljubovija - Bratunac

9. Circle of cooperation in Euro-region DKMT

With regards to DKMT Euro-region, the problem is that citizens of the three states were not sufficiently familiarized with this officially recognized European region that exists since 1997 and there are only a few examples of cooperation established under its umbrella. Cooperation between cities and NGOs, based on Interethnic Tolerance Agreement, is an opportunity to bring in some life into this euro-region and to improve the connections in the fields of economy, culture, media, and sport, as well as in other fields, through joint projects. This is also an opportunity to assist in resolving problems that resulted from introduction of visas for citizens of Vojvodina, i.e. Serbia and Montenegro for entering Hungary, as well as visas for entering Romania, which are expected very soon. Purpose of this cooperation is to facilitate the circulation of people, goods and ideas across the joint borders, because citizens at the border crossings often encounter unfriendly officials, harassment and unnecessary hold ups.

Professor Jovan Komšić, coordinator of the project and author of the text of the Interethnic Tolerance Agreement, introduced the participants with the essence of this document that functions on the basis of partnership between local government and NGOs, which is the best way to inspire citizens’ participation in decision-making and in establishing cooperation between cities.

Nadja Skenderović Ćuk from the Belgrade Office of European Council presented the experiences of developed European countries in establishing regional cooperation and advantages that this cooperation brings to the regions which participate in it.

Concrete experiences of establishing and developing cooperation in the region and between cities were presented by Dušan Radosavljević, vice-president of the Executive Council of Assembly of Vojvodina, Nadj Sandor, Deputy Mayor of Szeged, Borislav Novaković, President of the City Assembly of Novi Sad, Kaba Gabor, Mayor of Jimbolia, Kalara Perjesi, Mayor of Djula and by representatives of other cities.

Danica Stefanović from NGO Panonia from Novi Sad, Ilona Mihaes from Euro-regional Center for Democracy from Timisoara, Pato Atila from Istvan Bibo Foundation from Szeged, Zdravko Marjanović from the Society for Tolerance from Bačka Palanka, Saša Dujin from PAAD Group from Novi Sad and other participants discussed about cooperation between NGOs in Euro-region and about their experiences.

At the end of the conference, participants have adopted following conclusions:

1.Representatives of cities and NGOs, which participated in the conference, will form a coordination body that will be responsible for coordination of cooperation and activities based on Interethnic Tolerance Agreement. This cooperation is also open for other cities and NGOs of DKMT Euro-region, who wish to join in.

2.Responsible bodies of cities and NGOs of the DKMT, which participate in the project, should verify the Interethnic Tolerance Agreement in the next two months and authorize the signing.

3.Solemn signing of Interethnic Tolerance Agreement, by the representatives of cities and NGOs from Southeastern Europe, will take place on the regional conference which will be held at the beginning of June 2004 in Belgrade. On that occasion, creation of Association of Multiethnic Cities of the Region will be announced.

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Novi Sad


Dr. Bernhard Lamers