Project proposals for the second cycle of the Serbia–North Macedonia Cross-border Cooperation Programme, which provides for almost EUR 1.9 million for the promotion of employment, workers’ mobility, social and cultural inclusion, as well as the development of tourism, cultural and natural heritage of the two countries, can be submitted by 8 June.
The representatives of the Serbian Ministry for European Integration, Operational Structure of the Serbia–North Macedonia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2016–2020 and the Ministry of Local Self-Government of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Finance, have presented the second public call for the improvement of cross-border cooperation between the two countries.
Assistant Minister of European Integration Mihajilo Dašić has said at the online conference that the Serbia–North Macedonia Programme has enabled existing capacities to be upgraded and paved the road to an aspect of cooperation which had been lacking, all for the purpose of improving the quality of life in local and boarder areas through the application of innovative and sustainable solutions to common issues.
“The second call for proposals was announced on 10 March, with EUR 1,890,000 available in the form of grants. The deadline for the submission of project proposals is 8 June”, said Dašić.
According to him, the second call is aimed at strengthening good neighbourly relations, establishing partnerships and contributing to the development of the programme area, by connecting people and resources in a sustainable way.
Dašić has stressed that this call closes the cycle of financing cross-border projects through the 2016–2020 IPA financial perspective.
He has added that this is also the last chance to support joint initiatives of the two countries within the 2016/20 IPA budget, both at the regional and local level, and thus contribute to the realisation of goals and common cross-border ideas.
He has noted that all non-profit organisations registered in the territory of Serbia and North Macedonia can apply for projects, with the obligation that project activities must be implemented in the designated programme areas.
The areas include Jablanica and Pčinja counties in Serbia, and North-east and Skopje region in North Macedonia.
Dašić has recalled that, within the process of preparing cross-border cooperation for the new 2021/27 perspective, the Third Draft Serbia–North Macedonia Cross-border Cooperation Programme was completed and submitted to the European Commission on 15 July 2021.
“The priorities that were jointly proposed for financing within the new perspective include employment, workers’ mobility, social and cultural inclusion in the cross-border area, as well as the promotion of tourism development and preservation of cultural and natural heritage”, said Dašić.
“Indicative funds for the aforementioned period amount to EUR 8,400,000, and the Cross-border Cooperation Programme is the best way to promote the values we share with our European partners”, stated Dašić.
He has expressed his belief that everyone who has implemented an EU-funded project, including farmers, students, entrepreneurs and scientist, knows that there would be no progress or that the progress would be much slower if it weren’t for the partnership and cooperation with the EU.
He has concluded that it is therefore crucial for all actors in development programmes to continue cooperating and strengthening regional development through said projects, paving the road to Serbia’s EU membership.
Zoran Dimitrovski, the Deputy Minister of Local Self-Government of North Macedonia, has said that the main goal of the Serbia–North Macedonia Cross-border Cooperation Programme is the improvement of neighbourly and friendly relations between the two countries.
He has noted that the priorities of the Programme include the promotion of employment, workers’ mobility and cross-border social and cultural inclusion, as well as the promotion of tourism and cultural and natural heritage.
He has further stressed that a part of the Programme’s funds is intended for the technical assistance in project implementation.
The conference has also included the presentation of seven projects that were implemented within the first call, such as “Seed of Inclusion – Social enterprises for economic development and social inclusion”, “Improvement and protection of human health and environment by reducing the risk of pollution through efficient waste management” and “Less garbage, fewer risks, better health”.