The ceremony of opening of the House for Cross-Border cooperation was held in Prishtina on 19 May 2021. The “House for Cross-Border Cooperation” will be at the service of municipalities, civil society organizations, students, as well as various stakeholders, and will serve as an information point, where they can be informed about the concept and the idea of the operation and implementation of cross-border cooperation programs.
Mr. Elbert Krasniqi, the Minister of the Ministry of Local Government Administration, said “I feel happy that our countries are increasingly strengthening interstate coordination and cooperation for good neighbourliness, in the context of improving many common areas, starting from the aspect of promoting relations for economic and social development, reducing inequality in deep cross-border areas, development and promotion of tourism, environmental protection, cultural and natural heritage to ensure and facilitate the access of citizens to these areas in order to receive services, which promote and strengthen social cohesion between countries ”. Additionally, Minister Krasniqi said that “Such a concept of the CBC house will serve as a successful model to be applied in the countries of the region. We are confident that with the help of the European Union further interstate cooperation will bring new results, with a development perspective and guaranteed success.”
Mr. Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative, highlighted the importance and the role of the Cross-Border Cooperation House in Prishtina serving as a joint coordination point between all IPA CBC Programmes that Kosovo participates, but also providing easier access to information for all potential applicants. “Between these programmes numerous projects were realised and many are ongoing. Beyond the results, the cooperation projects bring the financial resources to local authorities, and in addition, they allow for the transfer of knowledge and experience across borders”.
The Ambassador Szunyog described the impact of the Cross-Border Cooperation grant scheme on encouraging communication, increasing trust and people-to-people initiatives in cross border region, supporting joint actions that build sustainable development and good neighbourly relations, “simply said these cross-border cooperation projects are making the everyday life of communities on each side of the borders better and easier. The EU in Kosovo will continue to support Kosovo institutions on their endeavours in reform implementation, sustainable development and prosper towards European Union integration”.
Mr. Goran Milevski – Minister of Local Self-government North Macedonia said “This House will be a one stop service for all the CBC operation in Kosovo and subsequently North Macedonia as a partner country will benefit by supporting the potential applicants from North Macedonia in creating partnerships across the border. Regional cooperation and development are among the main responsibilities of the Ministry for Local Self-government and the Cross border and INTERREG programmes are a very important part of our strategy for regional development”.
Ms. Zorka Kordic, Chief negotiator and NIPAC Montenegro said “Even though CBC actions are not intended to solve great systemic and economic challenges, with their support for innovative pilot actions and by ensuring an open platform for sharing knowledge they nevertheless come as drivers of necessary changes, which prompt reforms and strengthen our institutions. In my view, intensifying contacts among institutions, officials and staff of the Western Balkans, and in consequence their successful cooperation with the EU Member States and EU institutions, is one of the most remarkable achievements of cross-border cooperation. This is exactly why I am pleased that this valuable initiative of the CBC House has been brought to its realization, as an effort made towards the efficient preparation and implementation of the CBC programmes.”
Mr. Armand Skapi, General Secretary of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said “The Programme IPA CBC Albania – Kosovo represents one of the most important programmes in which Albania participates. The specific nature of this programme where joint efforts to implement common activities aiming at fulfilling the programme objectives, priorities and measures, requires an efficient and timely coordination and communication from both Operating Structures of Albania and Kosovo, supported by the European Union Delegation in Tirana”.