The first regional workshop for the staff of the joint technical secretariats (JTSs) of the EU-funded IPA cross-border cooperation programmes was organized in June 2014 in Durrës, Albania. This event gathered those directly involved in daily management of IPA CBC programmes and enabled exchange of experience and open discussions on the best solutions for common challenges in programmes’ implementation.

As all participants deemed the event very useful, the CBIB+ project, under the auspices of the European Commission, keeps organising them whenever there is a need.

The last meeting took place on 25 and 26 September 2019 in hotel Mediteran in Bečići, Montenegro.

Its main goal was to bring together the IPA CBC community to take stock of the implementation challenges of the 2014-2020 IPA II CBC programmes and discuss topics of common interest. These included the implementation of the programmes’ technical assistance priority, the regional monitoring system, quality of CBC projects as well as visibility and promotion of these programmes.

On 25 September two parallel meetings were organised:

  • A regional workshop including only the staff working in the IPA II CBC JTSs;
  • A coordination meeting between the European Commission Services (Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR and Delegations of the European Union/European Union Office in the Western Balkans region).

On 26 September 2019, only one meeting was organised for the entire IPA CBC community: DG NEAR, Delegations of the European Union/European Union Office in the WB region, JTSs of all IPA II CBC programmes, as well as representatives from the Operating Structure in Montenegro – the European Integration Office and the Ministry of Finance (host country) and Serbia – the Ministry of European Integration. The meeting commenced with a short welcoming speech by Ms Irena Bošković, Head of the Group for the Programmes with non EU members, at the European Integration Office of the Government of Montenegro.

Further to the opening speech, one rapporteur per each topic on the Agenda the day before presented, on behalf of the JTSs’ staff, those issues that would deserved being discussed by the rest of participants (in total 43 of them).

The approach ensured that the workshop served as a forum for interaction between staff of the IPA II CBC JTSs, the European Commission and the present Operating Structures. The topics that occupied most of the discussion were:

  • Functions, administration, management and utilisation of the data and statistics of the regional WB IPA CBC monitoring system;
  • Challenges affecting the work of the JTSs related to the implementation of the technical assistance priority; possible solution and best practices;
  • Exchanges/internships among JTS staff;
  • The tools and methods for improving the IPA II CBC programmes’ visibility and promotion.

It is worth mentioning that the workshop also served as team building and enhanced stakeholders’ networking.