Tajani: We want Western Balkans to be part of the European family

Tajani with Pejović; Photo: Ministry of European Affairs of Montenegro

AQUILA – “We must motivate the Western Balkan countries to complete their work and achieve everything they need to become part of Europe. We must help politically through projects and send a message that we want the Balkans in the European family. This is precisely why I began my commitment to the Balkans by visiting Montenegro,” said European Parliament President Antonio Tajani opening the final event of the Adriatic Cross-Border Cooperation Program held in Aquila, Italy.

He stressed that the stability of the Balkans, the fight against terrorism and migration management are the main topics that require financial support.

“The EU must invest more in networking and business,” Tajani said.

The conference brought together representatives of eight countries in the region, and Minister of European Affairs Aleksandar Andrija Pejović participated on behalf of the Government of Montenegro.

Minister Pejović said that only through coordinated and strategic action, while providing support to concrete, visible activities and projects adapted to local and wider needs, we can ensure further development of the Adriatic basin.

He noted that connecting and building infrastructure must be accompanied by social and economic reforms, environmental protection and close integration, stressing that such events are reminiscent of the vision and added value of European Territorial Cooperation and EU Cohesion Policy as one of the most important instruments for territorial development and cooperation of the countries of the Adriatic region.

The Minister pointed out that Montenegro recognized the Adriatic Cross-Border Program as an excellent opportunity for joint activities with its Adriatic partners, as confirmed by the fact that Montenegrin organizations and institutions participated in 49 projects that improved cooperation in a number of areas.

He emphasized that the cooperation was continued through the new Adrion program, as well as the trilateral program for Italy, Albania and Montenegro.

Within the framework of the Adriatic Program 2007-2013, the countries of the region have joined together in the gradual integration into the EU, thanks to the geographical proximity and common cultural and historical heritage.

The program, with a total value of 220.5 million euros, has facilitated the exchange of knowledge and experience with the member states in the field of economic, social and institutional cooperation, natural and cultural resources and risk prevention, as well as traffic and networking.