The implementation of six projects funded by the European Union under the 3rd Call for Proposals was marked on 2 March 2023 in Shkodra, Albania. Namely, six projects, worth 2.1 million euros will be implemented in the upcoming period in the area of employment, tourism and environment. A total of 19 partner organizations and institutions from the territory of Montenegro and Albania will participate in the implementation of the projects.

During the awarding of certificates to the beneficiaries of the 3rd Call for Proposals, the National IPA Coordinator of Albania/General Director of State Agency for Strategic Programming and Aid Coordination Mr Ilir Beqaj, addressed the participants at the beginning and stated that it is a very important moment to express deep recognition toward the European taxpayers whose contribution funds this programme and to confirm also both our countries commitment toward the European Integration path. Mr. Beqaj, especially emphasized the importance of the addressing of nowadays challenges such as biological, cyber or environmental ones, where the support of EU is crucial and much needed.

After this, the Head of the Operating Structure of Montenegro in the Ministry of European Affairs in Montenegro Mr Bojan Vujovic addressed the participants and pointed out that cooperation between Montenegro and Albania is particularly important in the context of the accession process, where it is possible to exchange experience and knowledge through the joint implementation of projects, in areas of importance and mutual interest. He reminded of the cooperation between these two countries, which started 15 years ago, and the fact that within the framework of IPA II, 21 projects with a total value of 7 million euros are financed in the fields of employment, workforce mobility and social and cultural inclusion, environmental protection and tourism.

Following this, Ms Ana Raicevic, the National Authorising Officer in the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro, adressed the participants and emphasized that the advantages of the cross-border cooperation programme are reflected in the creation of a common vision for a more prosperous future for the citizens of the two countries, supporting good neighborly relations, encouraging integration into the EU and promoting socio-economic development, and, as she assessed, the Montenegrin IPA structure will take advantage all its available capacities. She added „The Montenegrin IPA structure is ready for cooperation and support with awarded grants, bearing in mind the common goal – the successful absorption of available EU funds and the improvement of the European path“.

The Head of Sustainable Economic and Social Development in the Delegation of European Union in Albania Mr Andrea Vera, while addressing the participants, said that there is an increased quality of projects of applicants and beneficiaries of the EU funds. He added that cross-border cooperation has even bigger objectives such as the mutual coordination of both countries’ paths toward EU and deeper and stronger collaboration, once they will be a future part of EU. “Since 2012, EU has contributed with more than 8 million euro for the cross-border cooperation between Montenegro and Albania, and now we are all together working on the last preparations of IPA III with a budget of about 12 million of euros” Mr Vera concluded his word.

After the opening speeches, the Project Officer in the JTS Mr Nikola Djonovic presented in brief whole process of the 3rd Call for Proposals starting from its publication. He informed the audience about the whole timeline of activities that have been undertaken by the structures of the Programme aiming the information, capacity development of the potential applicants before and after publication of the Call.

As the last session the beneficiaries presented shortly their projects to the participants. The supported projects are aimed at empowering young people, encouraging social inclusion, improving employment opportunities, protecting the environment and sustainable use of natural resources, and reducing the risk of disasters in the program area.

The Grant Award Ceremony of the projects contracted under the 3rd Call for Proposals of IPA CBC Programme MNE – ALB 2014-2020 was organized by the State Agency for Strategic Programming and Aid Coordination of Albania in close cooperation with the Ministry of European Affairs and Ministry of Finance of Montenegro with technical support provided by JTS.

Source: IPA II CBC programme Montenegro – Albania website