European Western Balkans

Joint Technical Secretariat office for the two bilateral Cross-Border programmes opened in Podgorica

Mitja Drobnič

PODGORICA, – For the first time, Montenegro hosts the Joint Technical Secretariat for two Cross border Cooperation Programmes: Montenegro-Albania and Montenegro – Kosovo* on its own territory, and at the same time, Montenegro will be the Contracting Authority for both Programmes. Great responsibility, but feasible for Montenegro, stated the Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro, Ambassador Mitja Drobnic at the opening ceremony.

– The office we are inaugurating today is a new space tailored to meet the increasing demands and expectations of the new IPA II period. The common Joint Technical Secretariat will provide information and technical support to potential and contracted project partners, prepare and support the implementation of calls for proposals, facilitate the monitoring and administration of Cross-Border projects and support the communication and dissemination of the results achieved and lessons learnt- stated Ambassador Drobnic.

Cross-border cooperation programmes between Western Balkan countries were initiated for the first time in 2007 under the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Since then, Montenegro managed five bilateral CBC programmes – besides several transnational Cross-border programmes. Undoubtedly with the highest success possible, concluded the EU Ambassador to Montenegro.

– Based on the experience in the past with Montenegro as a trustworthy partner, we are positive that the authorities will successfully address the upcoming challenges under IPA II. Together with the authorities from Montenegro and partner countries we are committed to working together towards our common goals: new successful projects bringing positive developments, even better relationships on both sides of the border and continuous improvement of life conditions for the local population – stated Ambassador Drobnic.

The new generation of programmes brings new challenges, great deal of simplification, a single budget per programme, a single contracting authority and a single grant per project – and above all, the entrustment of management responsibilities to the Montenegrin authorities. CBC programmes contribute to good neighbourly relations through joint local and regional initiatives:

-The overall objective we strive to achieve with the new programmes are related to the improvement of the standard and quality of living of the people in the programme area through the environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economic development of the region, with respect for its common cultural and natural heritage, stressedMontenegro’s Chief Negotiator with the EU, Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic.

Until 2020, the total amount of EU funds available for cooperation between Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo* all together, amounts to €20.3 million. Through the Call for Proposals within the Programme Montenegro- Kosovo *, nine projects, worth 3.5 million euro, were contracted and they are currently under implementation. The contracted projects will contribute to the achievement of the Programme specific objectives: protection of biodiversity and promotion of sustainable use of natural resources in the border area and economic development of programme area, with special emphasis on the two priority sectors such as agriculture and forestry, and tourist development.

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