Our second partner is Harghita County Council from the Hungarian speaking County of Harghita in central Romania. Read more what the project manager Tímea Kiss has to say about the county and HCC’s goals in the project.
What is Harghita County Council?
Harghita County Council is a local public administration in the county of Harghita, Romania. The county council is based on the principles of local autonomy, decentralization of public services, legality and citizen’s consultation regarding local problems of main interest. Our most important responsibilities are the coordination of the local council’s activities in municipalities, towns and villages, producing public services and contributing to local economic growth by different development programs. The County Council is composed of 7 departments and coordinates the activity of the 20 subordinated institutions. The number of employees is more than 200.
Who are working with the project?
Our project team consists of several specialists and professionals in different fields of activity. By this we hope to successfully implement the project activities, both for our stakeholders and the international partnership.
I work as the project manager, being responsible of the overall management of the project activities. Besides FRiDGE I have administrative and organizational duties within the Management General Directorate of the County Council. Mrs. Zita Duka is responsible of the financial activities and reporting of the project. I will also be assisted by assistant project manager Ms. Éva Zonda from the International Relations Department. From the communications point of view, I will receive help from our communications team, Mrs. Ildikó Beáta Józsa-Svella and Mr. Levente Zoltán Erős.
Public procurement related activities are carried out by Ms. Anna Csíki and Legal counselor responsibilities by Mr. Alpár Bodó. Furthermore, the team is supported by two project coordinators, Ms. Emőke Kopacz, counselor on environmental, biocultural and energy efficiency subjects and by Ms. Éva Lukács from the International Relations Office.
What's interesting about Harghita's food sector?
Harghita County is a region rich in agricultural traditions and it’s very important that products that keep these traditions are not falsified or confused with similar ones on the market. Since the official registration of the community trademark Székely Termék / Produs Secuiesc / Szekler Product in February 2009 Harghita County Council continuously works on maintaining these traditions and to facilitate the introduction of these healthy and high quality products on the European market.
Today the trademark is owned by County Council and applications are being continuously filed for the use of the trademark, which is granted free of charge. In present more than 150 producers have the right to use the trademark for more than 1000 products. The registration for the trademark gives the possibility to sell and promote traditional local products both locally and abroad. We promote Szekler products together with tourist offerings in the region, at fairs in the country and abroad.
What do you wish to accomplish and learn from other regions?
The possibility to be part of the project is important for several reasons. Besides the possibility to promote our touristic, cultural, traditional and gastronomic values, there are several areas in which we wish to prevail, based on the best practices and experiences of other partners.
What we would like to learn from other partner regions are: 1. Efficient cooperation among SMEs and local entrepreneurs, 2. Technology transfer, 3. Evaluation of possibilities for young entrepreneurs to participate in exchange programs, internships or research projects, 4. Strategies and action plan examples on efficient coordination of local authorities and their cooperation with SMEs. We are also open for further cooperation with the partners.
Who are involved in your stakeholder group?
The most important stakeholders for us are the local food producers. We are collaborating, for example, with a honey and egg producer and one fruit-processing business. The stakeholders from managing authorities and development organisations are important also. In the present we are collaborating with Harghita County Development Agency, Regional Development Agency – Centru and Sapientia University.
We had our first local stakeholder meeting in the end of November. In the meeting we presented the project activities and opportunities for the stakeholders and evaluated the interest of the local entrepreneurs to join the project’s further activities. Based on the targeted objectives for the meeting, it was above expected, since it didn’t end as a general presentation of the project, but we received positive feedback from participants on their intent to join the project as active stakeholders. This we hope will contribute to a more result-oriented activities in the project.