The European Cooperation Day in Montenegro was marked by planting trees in front of the Office for European Integration, with the help of the Podgorica Company “Greenery.” Part of this year's celebration includes the thirtieth anniversary of the Interreg IPA programme. Through the Interreg IPA cross-border cooperation programme Croatia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Montenegro 2014-2020, a total of 30 seedlings will be planted in these three countries, as a reminder of numerous successful programme initiatives.
The Chief Negotiator and national IPA Coordinator, Aleksandar Drljevic, pointed out that diverse European cultures and economies only get the opportunity to realise their full potential through models of territorial cooperation and non-refundable financial support from the EU.
"This is a model that provides countries in the accession process with the opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge through the implementation of projects, as well as to adopt European standards in various areas through cooperation with member states. Therefore, it represents an adequate preparation for the implementation of cohesion, i.e. the regional policy that awaits us with the EU membership, but also for the use of generous funds that will be available to us for that purpose," Drljevic said.
The Interreg programme, Drljevic added, thanks to its significant development and financial potential within the 30 years encourages the entire European space to cooperate in solving common challenges, including the current pandemic, climate change, social inclusion, the issue of migrants, and many other areas.
According to Hermann Spitz, the Head of the Cooperation Section at the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Montenegrin institutions, organisations, and local communities are very actively involved in various cross-border cooperation programmes.
“By celebrating the European Cooperation Day, we are in fact celebrating the determination of European citizens to increase mutual cultural understanding, tackle shared challenges, and help improve the lives of people in the underdeveloped regions and communities. For this purpose, since 2007, the European Union has invested more than €63 million in various cross-border cooperation activities implemented in Montenegro,” said Spitz.
He pointed out that the partners from Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia successfully and jointly managed projects that helped protect the environment, develop the local economy, and improve the quality of life in the area, which stretches from Zagreb, through Bijeljina, and all the way to Ulcinj.