At the beginning of the implementation of the projects contracted through the Second CfP within the IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Montenegro-Albania 2014-2020 it was underlined that valuable cross-border initiatives that Montenegro and the Republic of Albania have been jointly implementing since 2008, through the Programme funded by the European Union, indicate the success of the overall concept of cross-border cooperation, which is an essential stimulus to the European integration process.
During the awarding of certificates to the beneficiaries of the 2nd CfP, Advisor to the Chief Negotiator Bojan Vujovic pointed out that cooperation between Montenegro and Albania is especially important in the context of the accession process where we can exchange experiences and knowledge in areas of importance and mutual interest. He reminded that through this Call, a large number of partner organizations and institutions applied with a total of 53 project proposals for two thematic priorities, the value of which was 6 times higher than the available funds.
Aleksandar Markovic, Contracting Manager in the Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU assistance Funds in the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare of Montenegro, reminded that the total value of allocated funds through the Second Call is over 2.6 million euros, which means that over 93% of allocated funds have been contracted. Markovic pointed out that “at the Program level, over 5 million euros of non-refundable support has been awarded so far for projects in the areas of employment and social inclusion, environmental protection and promotion of tourism, cultural and natural heritage”. He also announced the publication of the Third Call for Proposals under this Programme, which is planned to be launched by the end of June, in the total amount of 4.9 million euros.
Deputy Head of the Sector for Cooperation in the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro Audrone Urbonavicute emphasized that through this EU programme, the European Union is currently financing the cross-border cooperation between Montenegro and Albania with funds in the amount of 10.7 million euros, of which 2.6 million euros are committed today for seven new projects. In the past period, we have carefully monitored the impact that EU-funded projects have on local communities, and we expect that new projects will make an additional contribution in this regard. Even thought it is challenging, the process of protecting the environment, tackling climate change and socio-economic problems brings long-term progress. It is truly encouraging that visible progress has been made over the last few months despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secretary General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Armand Skapi, reminded that the operating structures cooperated together, in the spirit of cross-border cooperation, in the preparation of the programme, project selection, as well as ensuring the smooth implementation of the Programme. “Our efforts are now focused on projects, and it is up to the grant beneficiaries to achieve what was promised in order to enable the achievement of Programme goals and indicators, and ultimately have a positive impact on the daily life of communities” said Skapi.
Project activities are aimed at empowering young people, encouraging social inclusion, improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities, protecting the environment and sustainable use of natural resources, and reducing the risk of disasters in the program area.