Cross-border cooperation is a framework for faster economic integration whose objective is to reduce existing differences, raise the level of cross-border regions' development, as well as improve overall cultural, social, and scientific cooperation between local and regional communities.Specific objectives of cross-border cooperation are:
- Develop tourism as key sector of cross-border economy;
- Promote cross-border cooperation in trade as well as access to new markets;
- Re-establish cross-border ties between organisations that provide support to business and trade in order to promote cooperation initiatives;
- Maintain good quality of the cross-border regions' environment and economic resources by cooperating in environmental protection and utilisation initiatives;
- Strengthening economic and sports ties between people in order to strengthen inter-ethnic, educational, cultural, and sports ties and make equal use of the areas of mutual interest;
- Ensuring equal opportunities for all;
- Respecting specific needs of vulnerable groups, persons with disabilities, and/or national minorities;
- Environmental and heritage protection in order to ensure sustainable development;
- Development of partnerships and joint activity.
Locally, cross-border cooperation greatly affects local structures and citizens by strengthening their capacities necessary for project drafting and implementation. By virtue of this, project-related activities have a positive effect on citizens in areas where projects are being implemented and at the same time they raise awareness among local communities of the opportunities for their participation in ensuring better quality of life.
In a broader sense, institutional capacities and human resources are being developed for project management of structural funds available upon accession.
The European Commission allocates from 3.9 million EUR (2007) up to 5 million EUR (2013) annually for IPA II projects.
Montenegro participates in 8 cross-border programmes:
• Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro (www.cbc.bih-mne.org);
• Croatia – Montenegro (www.cbccro-mne.org);
• Serbia – Montenegro (www.cbcsrb-mne.org);
• Montenegro– Kosovo *
Multilateral and cross-border:
• IPA Adriatic Cross-Border Cooperation Programme (www.adriaticipacbc.org);
• Southeast-Europe Programme (www.southeast-europe.net);
• Mediterranean Programme (www.programmemed.eu).
Calls for project submissions are published periodically.
Prior to the publication of a Call, it is necessary to do the following:
• Visit cross-border cooperation programmes' forum (www.cbc-mne.org) and the aforementioned websites of each of the programmes where all info is kept up-to-date.
• Contact the Joint Technical Secretariat and Programme Antennae (addresses available at the websites).
• Read programme documents – Operational Programme and Implementation Documents, which offer a more detailed overview of programme priorities and measures, project management, end-user obligations, categories of projects and partnerships, etc.
• Visit info-days where basic rules are presented and information provided on how to draft a successful project.
• Attend forums aimed at establishment of project partnerships, where direct contacts and exchange of ideas can be made with potential partners.
• Establish cross-border partnerships and prepare joint projects.
After the publication of the Call for Projects, it is necessary to do the following:
• Read the Application package – a set of documents containing detailed guidelines for applicants, with all the submission rules, and the complete documentation to be filled out in order to apply for the project.
• Attend info-sessions, where they are offered detailed explanation on the Application package and project assessment criteria.
• Draft a project together with partners (joint filling out of the forms) and submit it within the submission deadline to the address of the Joint Technical Secretariat in accordance with the rules of the Call.
Call for Projects will be published at the Ministry website (www.mvpei.gov.me), programme websites, cross-border cooperation programmes' forum, and daily press.
The closing of the Call is followed by evaluation, which is a two-step process:
• Administrative assessment (to check whether all documents have been submitted and whether the organisations involved in the project are eligible to participate).
• Quality assessment (according to clearly defined rules).
If the project is selected for implementation, budget update takes place, followed by the signing of an agreement with the EU Delegation and the beginning of project-implementation.
Important to note
The most important part of the project is the project idea, which must be in line with the main objective of the cross-border programme, which is the need to have projects related to economic development, with a special emphasis on tourism, environmental protection, ecological protection and promotion, innovation and research, and small projects that promote social cohesion and "people-to-people" projects.
There are also limits in the part of institutional eligibility for project participation. It is necessary that all the institutions applying for the projects are not-for-profit in nature, such as: government agencies, municipalities, various associations and societies, NGOs, universities, schools, hospitals, research centres, etc. Cross-border cooperation programmes are implemented on both sides of the borders under the same set of rules for participants. For each individual programme, each participant country must establish operational bodies tasked with implementing the projects related to that country. The task of these bodies is to cooperate closely in the process of drafting and implementing cross-border cooperation programmes and projects.
A major challenge for potential grant beneficiaries are the detailed rules and procedures requested by the EU, which demand the well-developed management capacities in the beneficiary institutions, previous project experience, and co-financing of at least 15% that the beneficiaries need to ensure from their own funds.
There is a growing interest in cross-border programmes participation. The reason lies in partnerships established through previous calls. For this very reason, the cross-border cooperation programmes serve as a tool to strengthen the old and establish new partnerships for future cross-border projects. So far, it was shown that Montenegrin institutions and organisations are successful in applying. Namely, within the first Calls for funds from IPA 2007 and IPA 2008 6 projects were awarded to Albania – Montenegro programmes, 11 to Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro projects, 5 to Croatia – Montenegro projects, and 13 for Serbia – Montenegro projects. First call for SEE trans-national programme yielded 5 projects, MED 3, and the Adriatic as many as 17 projects in which Montenegro participates.
By getting closer to the EU, the funds available for cross-border cooperation programmes are increasing. By virtue of this, the country is preparing, through this process, to use the funds from the EU Structural Funds available upon accession.
* Ova odluka je bez predrasuda o statusu Kosova i u skladu je s Rezolucijom Savjeta bezbjednosti Ujedinjenih nacija 1244 i Mišljenjem suda pravde o proglašenju nezavisnosti Kosova.