At the recently held coordination meeting of IPA (Instrument for Pre Accession Assistance) multi-beneficiary programs in Herceg Novi, the main focus was put on announcing the importance of EU funds for the implementation of important internal reforms and the progress of the Western Balkan countries towards membership in the European Union.
Representatives of Western Balkans countries, Turkey, and the European Commission all attended the meeting, as it was opened by the acting General Director for Coordination of EU assistance programs at the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry, Ana Vukadinović, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Andre Lys, and the Chief of the European Commission for regional cooperation and programs to expand, Morten Jang.
Views were exchanged on the actions proposed for funding under the IPA's program for 2017, for which the EU has committed 350 million euros. The scope of this funding has been reported to include the program for civil society and the media, the promotion of investigative journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey, a regional program for statistics, support to regional cooperation in the field of environmental protection, the support of the Western Balkans investment framework, and other forms of cross-border cooperation.
On the topic of supporting infrastructure, Minister Vukadinović said that Montenegro formed a unified list of priority projects containing 64 projects in four areas: environment, transport, energy and the social sector, the total estimated value of which is approximately EUR four billion.
In the end, Mr Jang from the European Commission stressed the importance of the upcoming Western Balkans Leaders' Summit in Paris within the framework of the Berlin process, and in this regard emphasised the need for the implementation of planned activities from the agenda of connectivity, as well as on giving particular attention to the issues of young people, their mobility, skills and volunteer work.