On the occasion of launching the 1st Call for Proposals of the Cross-border Cooperation Program between Montenegro and Kosovo 2014-2020, the Ministry of European Affairs organized a kick-off conference and information session in Podgorica, where programme priorities and rules for the submission of project proposals were presented to potential beneficiaries of projects and other interested public.
Opening the conference Minister of European Affairs Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic reminded that the new Programme continues the successful cooperation between Montenegro and Kosovo that started in 2010. He emphasized that the projects significantly contributed to the realization of concrete programme goals, including economic development of the program area, the protection of its biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, with a special emphasis on agriculture and forestry sector and the tourism development sector.
Minister Pejović used the opportunity to point out that the new Programme, with a total value of almost 10 million EUR, provides an additional opportunity for the institutions and organizations of Montenegro and Kosovo to work through joint activities in order to improve the quality of life in the cross-border area. He emphasized that all three program priorities are complementary to the previous Programme, as well as with the national strategies of each country.
Consequently, the realization of cross-border projects in the field of employment promotion and labour mobility envisions enhancement of skills and capacity building, while joint initiatives in the field of environmental protection will additionally contribute to integrated prevention and control of pollution, management of sensitive ecosystems, and efficient use of surface waters in order to valorise natural resources. Minister Pejovic added that joint activities under the third thematic priority will be directed towards encouraging joint cross-border activities in the field of tourism and culture, which involve the promotion of joint tourist locations and new local brands.
Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Administration of the Republic of Kosovo Bajram Gecaj thanked the Ministry of European Affairs for quality cooperation, and the Delegation of the European Union for the support it provides for the implementation of the Programme. He stated that the primary objective of the Program was to improve the lives of citizens from both sides of the border, and invited all potential users to also attend informative sessions that were be organized in Bijelo Polje, Peja and Gjakova.
Acting Director General of the Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds Katarina Živković presented more details on the rules of the first Call, and reminded the audience that this Call, with a total value of 2 million EUR, will remain open until April 25th 2017.
Adriana Micu, the representative of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, recalled the importance of regional cooperation, which is one of the priorities of the European enlargement agenda. She pointed out the remarkable results that Montenegro achieved in the implementation of cross-border programmes, and noted that with the implementation of over 130 projects, Montenegro has a significant advantage over other Western Balkan countries.