On the occasion of the publication of the 1st Call for Proposals for the CBC IPA Program Montenegro – Albania 2014-2020 a kick off conference was held today in Podgorica.
Opening speeches were delivered by State Secretary for European Integration and National Coordinator for IPA Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Ambassador Mitja Drobnič, Director General of Territorial Cooperation of the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Albania Ana Xhilaga and General Director of the Directorate for the Financing and Contracting of EU Assistance Funds of the Ministry of Finance Marija Radenović.
Opening the event, Ambassador Pejović recalled the successful cross-border cooperation between the two countries during the financial perspective IPA 2007- 2013. He pointed out that the cooperation started in 2008, and that as part of three open calls 24 projects worth almost 6 million were successfully implemented.
He emphasized the strategic importance of the project for reconstruction of cross-border crossing Božaj and construction of a new joint border crossing Zatrijebačka Cijevna in the value of 3.6 million euros. “The implementation of the program Montenegro – Albania has contributed to bringing people and institutions in the border area closer and established a platform for long-term cooperation in the field of cultural exchange, translation, ethnography and other areas. Intensified economic cooperation through concrete actions to protect the environment improved the protection of various ecosystems, seas, lakes, rivers and mountains, which form a unique area in terms of ecology, biodiversity and habitat” said Ambassador Pejović. He underlined the expectation that good cooperation between the two countries would continue also in the future. In this context he informed the public that the resources available within the EU financial perspectives 2014-2020 amount to almost 12 million euros, out of which 2.89 million euros will be allocated for financing projects from the first call.
He emphasized that the project activities under this call, as well as the entire Programme Montenegro – Albania aims at improving the standards and quality of life in the programming area through environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economic development of the region, respecting the common cultural and natural heritage.
In this regard he pointed out that in the first call will support projects to be implemented within three thematic priorities relating to encouragement of tourism, cultural and natural heritage; environmental protection, promotion of climate change adaptation and mitigation, prevention and risk management and the promotion of employment, labour mobility and social inclusion. He pointed out that the project activities will be implemented in the program area, which includes 12 municipalities in Montenegro: Andrijevica, Berane, Petnjica, Plav, Gusinje, Rozaje, Podgorica, Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj, and three regions in Albania: Shkodra, Lezha and Tropoja.
Director General of Territorial Cooperation of the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Albania Ana Xhilaga pointed out that the overall objective of IPA cross-border Programme between Montenegro and Albania 2014 – 2020 is to strengthen good neighbourly relations and socio-economic development of border areas. “The launch of this call is a good chance and an opportunity for all of you to contribute to improving the economy and quality of life in the border region through the preparation of project applications and the successful partnership with the Albanian beneficiaries,” she emphasized.
The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Ambassador Mitja Drobnič stressed that regional cooperation ranks high on the agenda of EU enlargement and that the EU, given the importance of good neighbourly relations and the need to cooperate across borders, established 11 bilateral CBC programs in the region for the period from 2007 to 2013.
General Director of the Directorate for the Financing and Contracting of EU Assistance Funds of the Ministry of Finance Marija Radenović explained that this is the first call in the context of cross-border cooperation that Montenegro is implementing independently, with the support of key institutions of the system, in accordance with the rules and procedures laid down by the European Commission. She pointed out that the applicants will be able to apply for a grant in the amount of 100,000 to 500,000 euros, depending on the thematic priority for which they apply. This amount represents 85% of the total contract value, while the applicants have an obligation to provide a minimum of 15% of their own co-financing.