Thematic meetings with representatives of municipalities from the programme area of the EU-funded cross-border cooperation programmes (CBC) Montenegro – Albania and Montenegro – Kosovo* were held during October and November 2023. The meetings promoted the results of the projects funded under these two programmes and the upcoming CBC programmes under the 2021-2027 IPA III financial cycle. The meetings were an opportunity for representatives of local and regional authorities, as well as public utility companies, to obtain more detailed information on the IPA III programmes and ask questions related to the implementation of the programme, its structures, objectives and thematic priorities; and the future calls for proposals.

These meetings were held in 31 municipalities, in 16 municipalities in Montenegro, 9 in Albania and 6 in Kosovo. They were conducted by the Joint Technical Secretariat of both programmes (JTS) and by, depending on the country where the meeting was held, representatives of the Ministry of European Affairs of Montenegro, the State Agency for Strategic Programming and Aid Coordination of Albania and the Ministry of Local Government Administration of Kosovo. They raised great interest and were attended by 139 participants. Representatives of all visited municipalities expressed their readiness to participate in the upcoming IPA III programmes in all envisaged thematic priorities.

The main interest of the participants was directed towards the possibilities for investments in infrastructure and equipment within the projects, the financial framework, the programmes’ financial envelopes, and issues of co-financing and pre-financing of the grants and some implementation aspects. In addition, several clarifications were provided regarding the eligibility of actions and partners, and other common rules relevant for project application and implementation.

One of the main discussion points during the meetings revolved around the capacity of municipalities, local public institutions and utility companies when drafting and implementing projects. In most municipalities, it was perceived a need for additional capacity building. Representatives of the programmes’ management structures explained that various activities were envisaged before the launch of calls for proposals such as training on preparation of project proposals in line with EU rules, info sessions, info days and partner search forums, emphasizing that they would be invited to participate in these events during 2024.

Within the IPA III CBC programme Montenegro – Albania, € 10.7 million are made available for projects aiming at making the cross-border territory more environmentally sustainable and resilient, as well as promoting economic development by fostering the competitiveness of tourism and cultural/natural heritage to attract visitors. While for the IPA III CBC programme Montenegro – Kosovo, € 7.5 million have been earmarked for projects improving the employability of youth and vulnerable groups, and boosting sustainable tourism.

The IPA CBC Programmes Montenegro – Albania and Montenegro – Kosovo are funded by the European Union.

Source: IPA II CBC programme Montenegro – Albania website

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence