Tomorrow Rijeka and Opatija will open their doors for the local governments of South East Europe (SEE). Over 2000 participants, representing over 350 local governments, businesses and development agencies from SEE will take part in the NEXPO 2013 International Municipal Fair.
NEXPO 2013 is organized by the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe (NALAS), the Association of Cities in the Republic of Croatia, the Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Croatia and the Cities of Rijeka and Opatija from 25-27 September 2013.
“Both Rijeka and Opatija are ready to welcome our fellow Mayors and their staff”, says Mr. Vojko Obersnel, Mayor of Rijeka and President of the Association of Cities. “We have many municipal best practices that we would like to show and exchange experiences in the areas of energy efficiency, transparency, citizen participation… But, I also believe that our guests will enjoy the beauties of this part of the Adriatic cost”.
„Opatija and Rijeka have a long-lasting cooperation, this is an occasion to confirm this once again with the organization of NEXPO. We are looking forward to the opportunity to exchange our experiences with colleagues from SEE, network better and create conditions for a wider collaboration. Rijeka is one of the most important cities in the country, while Opatija is the leading tourist centre with new capacities, so this synergy brings a strong potential for the future”, adds the Mayor of Opatija, Mr. Ivo Dujmić.
The topic of NEXPO 2013 is the role of local governments in EU Integration of all countries of South-East Europe. The opening Conference, “The Road to EU Integration: Removing barriers, unlocking our potential”, held on 25 September in the Croatian Cultural Dome in Sushak, Rijeka, will assess the current state of progress, and will analyse the strengths, weaknesses and potential of the central and local governments of the SEE region in relation to the EU integration process. Mr. Vojko Obersnel, Mayor of Rijeka, Mr. Anton Peršak, NALAS President, Mr. Oldřich Vlasák, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr. Gerhard Schumann-Hitzler, Director, IPA Strategy, European Commission and Mr. Luc Van den Brande, Member and former President, Committee of the Regions will address some 500 participants of the conference, joining speakers coming from the EU Commission, international organizations, local government associations and Mayors.
“Aims of NEXPO are twofold”, emphasizes Mr. Anton Peršak, NALAS President and Mayor of Trzin, Slovenia. “One, to mark the accession of the Republic of Croatia as the newest Member State of the European Union, and to explore the role of the cities and local governments in the process and in ensuring its success and two, to explore what needs to be done – in particular at local and regional levels – to enable the remaining states and territories of South-East Europe to achieve full integration into the EU, in accordance with the values and objectives of the Union, to learn from each other and to maximise our contribution to the process”.
NEXPO Fair will be opened on 26 September in Zamet Centre, Rijeka. The Fair provides exhibition of municipalities, businesses and development agencies, over 25 workshops in various topics relevant for local governments, a designated space for Mayors’ interaction and rich cultural program from Croatia and SEE. The Fair will also host matchmaking meetings between municipalities and the business sector in energy efficiency and renewable energies, as a follow-up of the interaction they had by using the online matchmaking tool.
At the closing ceremony on 27 September, the Mayors of Rijeka and Opatija will pass on NEXPO hosting to Mr. Ivan Totev, the Mayor of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the city that will host the next NEXPO, in 2015.
NEXPO 2013 International Municipal Fair is organized under the auspices of the President of Croatia, His Excellency Ivo Josipović.
About NEXPO: NEXPO brings together local governments, local government associations, development agencies, civil society and businesses from SEE and beyond. NEXPO promotes the role of local governments and the process of decentralization, provides regional networking, promotes decentralized cooperation, regional businesses and building peace and stability.
NEXPO was organized for the first time in March 2011, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It brought together 200 Mayors, 100 Exhibitors, 2000 Visitors, and provided 9 Conferences and Workshops.
For more information about NEXPO 2013, please check:nexpo.nalas.eu.