April 18, 2019 - Kotor is a member of numerous international organizations and has twin cities around the world. In the context of regional cooperation, cooperation with Dubrovnik, Split, Mostar, and Ohrid has intensified in the past period. Kotor is also a member of international associations of cities that are based on UNESCO's principles of development for the areas of universal importance, multiethnic principles of spreading the culture of peace and the integrating principles of the European Union.
"In the field of establishing cooperation with local communities, Kotor has a rich tradition, many old partnerships, renewed and new. The modern conception of the municipality implies a serious pillar of cooperation and joint projects involving not only representatives of local authorities but also other members of the community,” said the coordinator of the Office for International Cooperation of the Municipality of Kotor, Dr. Jelena Stjepčević in the program "032"
of Radio Kotor.
"The Kotor Municipality establishes strong links and cooperation with these organizations, as well as other key actors from neighboring countries of the Western Balkans and EU Member States on a project basis. In the context of participation in projects of European territorial cooperation, I would particularly emphasize the Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities and the Adriatic Ionian Euro Region organizations, promoting the implementation of the European strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian macro-regions. It creates an institutional framework for identifying and solving the most common issues in the Adriatic, and thus issues that are of importance for the long-term development of Kotor. The Kotor Municipality has repeatedly participated in Open Days in Brussels, from supporting the macro-regionalization of institutions to theme workshops after the strategy has become operational," said Stjepčević.
In cooperation with the Adriatic Ionian Euro Region, the Municipality of Kotor has so far implemented projects "Quality of Adriatic Food", "Adriatic Mariculture" and "AdriEurop" funded through the INTERREG CARDS PHARE cross-border cooperation program as well as the project "Adriatic Ionian Operating Management" is funded from the IPA Adriatic Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2007-2013. Membership in the Adriatic and Ionian Cities Forum offers the opportunity to create strong partnerships in the new programming period of the European Union. It is essential for the Municipality of Kotor and other Montenegrin municipalities as members of this association as it receives support from international funds for projects and initiatives that are in line with the strategic vision development of coastal cities.
The new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region as well as the new territorial cooperation programs, says Stjepčević, offer great opportunities for strengthening the maritime economy, creating new jobs in the region, strengthening traffic and energy links, inter-port cooperation, developing sustainable tourism and protection of the sea and coast.
The Regional and Territorial Cooperation Sector provides the possibility of applying Montenegrin beneficiaries of assistance to three transnational, two trilateral and four bilateral programs, from which the Municipality of Kotor has nominated projects within all three transnational (Adriatic- Mediterranean and Danube), both trilateral (Montenegro Croatia, BiH and Montenegro, Italy, Albania) and one bilateral program Montenegro and BiH.
Within the framework of the first financial perspective of IPA 2007-2013, the Kotor Municipality was one of the most prosperous municipalities in Montenegro in competing and withdrawing available EU funds, thus gaining excellent references in the field of EU funds use and becoming a reliable partner in the region.
"The total value of the projects implemented by the Kotor municipality in the framework of the financial perspective of IPA I, which are financed by the EU, is about 1,230,000, not counting the projects that have been carried out independently by our companies, in this case, the figure for half a million," Stjepčević said.
Kotor fosters good international relations with Italian friendly cities and regional organizations, as reliable partners in cross-border cooperation projects.
"The Municipality of Kotor has actively participated in all open calls for projects of the new IPA II financial perspective program, which carries much more opportunities and resources than we have so far had the opportunity to make use of, especially through trilateral projects, namely Montenegro-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Croatia and Montenegro-Italy-Albania. So far, a total of five projects worth EUR 718,500 have been approved for the Kotor Municipality, of which we are most proud of the BACAR project, where we are in the role of the lead partner, is funded from the IPA trilateral Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2014-2020," Stjepčević said.
Evaluation of other projects that are projected under this financial perspective is ongoing.
"It is of the utmost importance that the Municipality of Kotor pays special attention to the training of the employees to acquire the necessary knowledge in the field of project management. We are expecting significant activities in the field of communication of the European integration process following the Public Information Strategy on the Accession of Montenegro to the European Union 2019-2022 and the Action Plan for its Implementation in 2019," concluded Stjepčević.