PODGORICA – A meeting of the Appropriations Committee for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) was held on Tuesday in Podgorica. Programs and projects supported by the European Union were evaluated based on the effectiveness, quality and expediency of their implementation. Activities in the framework of the preparation of programs and activities that will be financed by the EU funds the coming period were also considered.
The meeting, on behalf of the Government of Montenegro, opened the minister of European affairs and national coordinator for IPA, Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, on behalf of the European Commission Director for the Western Balkans in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Genoveva Ruiz Calavera.
Opening the meeting, minister Pejović said that Montenegro has a high degree of utilization of funds from the IPA, which shows that Montenegro has the knowledge and skills for planning, as well as for the successful implementation of projects. He recalled that in 2007-2013 period, Montenegro utilised over 90% of the available funds from 235 million UR grant support.
“As the smallest country of the Western Balkans, we managed to successfully finalize the greatest number of cross-border cooperation, which speaks volumes about the intensity of cooperation between Montenegro and its neighbors in this area,” said minister Pejović. He reminded that during this period 136 bilateral projects with neighboring countries were conducted, worth around 20 million EUR, 56 IPA projects in Adriatic Cross-Border Programme worth 14.1 million EUR, while in the case of transnational cooperation programs (South East Europe and Mediterranean program) 35 projects totaling in 3.8 million EUR were conducted.
“That the EU has confidence in the Montenegrin structures and procedures further confirms the fact that we were entrusted in 2014. to independently manage the support funds within the IPA components III and IV, in important areas of policy relating to the protection of the environment, transport, education, employment and social policy,” stated the minister.
He stressed that, in the function of successful continual use of the funds available for the 2014-2020 period, in which Montenegro has access to 275 million euros, over 100 million of these funds under the program for 2014, 2015 and 2016. were already allocated, which are aimed at supporting the implementation of major reforms that Montenegro. These funds are used in the framework of the negotiation process, but also on further strengthening of the infrastructure, which will contribute to a better connection of Montenegro with the countries of the region and the rest of the EU.
Director for Western Balkans in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Genoveva Ruiz Calavera emphasized that Montenegro uses IPA as an important tool to support the implementation of the most important reforms in the accession process EU. She said that the success of Montenegro in the use of EU funds confirms the EU’s readiness to increase the amount of funds available through IPA during the financial perspective 2014-2020. She stressed that the EU will continue to support priority sectors in Montenegro, so that every citizen of Montenegro can feel concrete benefits from the reforms being implemented during the EU accession process. She also pointed out that the support through IPA will be a good chance for Montenegro to prepare its institutions for the future membership of the EU through a partnership with the European Commission.