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A New Boost in Cooperation in South Adriatic Region through the EU Funds

Through projects funded by the trilateral Interreg IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Italy – Albania – Montenegro 2014-2020, Montenegrin institutions and organisations have utilised around €20 million in non-refundable EU funds, which represents nearly a quarter of the total funds allocated through this programme within the financial perspective of the IPA II.

This information was relayed by Bojan Vujović, Director General of the Directorate for European Funds at the Ministry of European Affairs of Montenegro, during an event in Bari which marked the conclusion of the mentioned programme and the beginning of the new cross-border cooperation programme between Italy, Albania, and Montenegro, titled Interreg IPA South Adriatic.

At the event, which was also open to the public, Vujović emphasised that the cooperation between the Italian regions of Apulia and Molise, Albania, and Montenegro had proven to be very successful, resulting in a total of 101 projects, of which 86 involved institutions and organisations from Montenegro as project partners.

“These projects aimed to address various challenges in this region, ranging from strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting tourism and culture, improving environmental protection and energy efficiency, to the development of sustainable transportation solutions,” explained Vujović.

He added that during the IPA III programme framework for the period 2021-2027, the Interreg IPA South Adriatic programme will have access to €81 million of EU funds, which will support cross-border projects focused on improving society, the economy, innovation and research, the environment, and governance.

“The ties between Italy, Albania, and Montenegro are strong and unbreakable. I am convinced that we will continue nurturing them through the new programme and work together to build prosperity for all of us living in the dynamic South Adriatic region,” Vujović concluded.

During the event in Bari, held under the motto “From Italy, Albania, and Montenegro to the Interreg IPA South Adriatic Programme,” five strategic projects were also presented, which will be implemented during the programme period of 2021-2027 by institutions from the three countries.

Montenegrin institutions will be the leading partners in two strategic projects. The Ministry of Culture and Media will be the leading partner in the strategic project “Creative South Adriatic,” which will focus on the development of culture and creative industries, while the Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Montenegro will be the leading partner in the strategic project “Competent South Adriatic,” which will focus on the development of competencies for the blue economy.

The event concluded with the announcement of the Call for Standard Projects, expected to be issued by the end of 2023.