Celebration of the European Cooperation Day in Montenegro

A cross-border and transnational cooperation projects' fair took place las 19th September in Podgorica (Montenegro) on the occasion of the European Cooperation Day. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.

The visitors were addressed by the State Secretary for European integrations and Chief negotiator for EU accession, Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejović and the Head of Operations Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Andre Lys.

Ambassador Pejović welcomed the fact that the European Cooperation Day celebration is taking place for the third time and noted that the objective of European territorial cooperation is to enhance economic and social cohesion within the European Union, for which reason instruments had been developed to provide for a framework and possibilities of bringing people closer across borders. Reaching standards and achieving set goals is much easier attained through cooperation between states by joining knowledge, experience, and means, Ambassador Pejović has underlined.

Addressing the visitors, the Chief Negotiator noted that cooperation programmes helped implement a number of joint projects in the areas of environmental protection, transport, education, energy, employment, health care, and many others.

He highlighted in particular the notable results achieved over the previous seven-year period within five bilateral and three transnational cooperation programmes. So far, over 100 projects worth over 14 million EUR in Montenegro have taken place within the framework of bilateral cooperation, 48 projects worth 13 million EUR within the Adriatic cross-border project, and 39 projects worth over four million EUR within the SEE and MED programmes, Ambassador Pejović recalled.

Ambassador Pejović welcomed the results on the ground and noted as particularly important the fact that a great number of programme beneficiaries, including local governments, state institutions, public institutes, and NGOs, have accepted to participate at the projects? fair. In that context, he was hopeful that the previous experience will serve as additional motivation for success in implementing the cross-border cooperation projects, especially having in mind Montenegro's participation in nine cross-border and transnational programmes over the next seven years.

''This is a fine opportunity for all of us here today to show what have achieved together. The European integration process of Montenegro has already stimulated its cross-border cooperation to a large degree'', Head of Operations Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro Andre Lys has said. He underlined that cross-border cooperation is the essence of the European integration idea and that the EU had been established upon this principle. All 30 beneficiaries are showing Montenegro's great commitment in this area. This includes the youth cooperation project with Serbia, ecological preservation of Cijevna River project with Albania, or the project that helped establish and promote a model of tourism cooperation between Shkoder and Ulcinj. The Government of Montenegro has provided notable help for the practical implementation of this cooperation and we will continue our successful cooperation in this area, Mr Lys has concluded.

The European Cooperation Day has been taking place on 21 September across Europe for the past three years and it celebrates achievements made through 20 years of territory cooperation in Europe and region, as well as results of cooperation of cross-border regions.

More information about the European Cooperation Day: www.ecday.eu