State Secretary for European Integration and National IPA Coordinator Aleksandar Andrija Pejović participated at political and bilateral consultations within the Trilateral Cross-border Cooperation Programme Italy-Albania-Montenegro, which took place in Bari, Italy on 4-5 March 2016. The consultations gathered representatives of the three countries, namely Ambassador Pejović, President of the Puglia Region Michele Emiliano, President of the Molise Region Paolo di Laura Frattura, and Secretary-General of the Ministry of European Integration of Albania Daniela Cekani.
The participants voiced their pleasure over the launch of the new Trilateral Cross-border Cooperation Programme Italy-Albania-Montenegro, and noted that it marks the continuation of previous very successful cooperation. The new trilateral programme, worth EUR 93 million, has the objective of improving strategic cross-border cooperation towards smart and sustainable development and regional and local stakeholder networking in the three countries with the view to exchanging knowledge and experience.
Ambassador Pejović said he believes the realisation of shared projects within this programme will improve competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises, bolster natural and cultural resources management, improve environmental protection, and raise the level of services in the area of transport and public infrastructure.
The three countries’ representatives summed the results achieved within previous programmes of cross-border cooperation, namely the Adriatic Neighbourhood Programme, the South East Europe Programme, and the Mediterranean Programme. The participants welcomed the fact that within these three programmes 78 projects worth EUR 250 million have been implemented over the course of the previous seven-year financing period.
“These results testifies that in the previous period we have been very successful in attracting funds. More importantly, the projects we realised improved the state of affairs in the areas of culture, tourism, transport, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and entrepreneurship on all sides of the border,” Mr Pejović has noted.
He noted that owing to cooperation with Italian partners the Montenegrin side has received valuable knowledge, improved skills, and built capacities for successful preparation and implementation of projects which will be extremely important for Montenegro in managing larger funds which will become available upon accession.
At the consultations sidelines, Ambassador Pejović met separately with President Emiliano and Mayor of Bari Antonio Decaro. The officials agreed that cooperation between Montenegro and Italy, and especially partners from Puglia and Bari, has been very successful, noting the great number of projects worth EUR 35.6 million, and they voiced hopes it would continue in the future as well.