Zagreb's 'ideas and experience' can assist other EU candidate countries
Zagreb is taking its experience as capital city of an EU candidate country and passing it on to its regional contemporaries, says Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic.
The city of Zagreb has travelled the long journey from being the capital city of an EU candidate country to a regional leader. During the last decade, Zagreb has renewed old, and established new, relationships with the capital cities of neighbouring European Union countries – Vienna, Budapest, Ljubljana, Berlin, Rome, Warsaw – and other capital cities, gaining the experience of a lifetime in the great European community.
"Zagreb has established a city office for European funds as a separate administrative body whose task is to maintain complete information of all EU projects within the city of Zagreb"
As well as in exchanging programmes, ideas and experience, Zagreb has been involved in 'quiet diplomacy' to promote the interests of Croatia in the EU. At the same time, Zagreb has intensified cooperation with capital cities in the region: Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Skopje (FYR) Macedonia), Pristina (Kosovo), Tirana (Albania), in the desire to pass on the extensive knowledge we gained from friendly cities. Zagreb has established a city office for European funds as a separate administrative body whose task is to maintain complete information of all EU projects within the city of Zagreb and to encourage other administrative bodies, institutions and NGOs to apply for various programmes and to offer material and logistical help in preparing them. We believe that Zagreb's knowledge will be of assistance to other cities and countries in the region which currently have the status of candidate countries or are striving to obtain that status.
The celebration of the accession of Croatia to the European Union was held on the main square of Zagreb, a 900-year-old central European city which had been living for this event for months. Many tourists and visitors to Zagreb came together with the people of Zagreb that day and night of 30 June and 1 July to enjoy a rich programme, organised on many beautiful street and park locations, featuring performances by distinguished Croatian artists and a large fireworks display on the stroke of midnight.