Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) is an EU-funded instrument, co-funded by the cooperating countries, that supports and enables bordering countries to cooperate in the field of e.g. economic, social, environmental, and cultural and sports activities.
Kosovo is currently engaged in cross border cooperation with its neighbors:
• Kosovo and FYROM
• Albania and Kosovo
• Montenegro and Kosovo
The indicative allocation for the three programmes of IPA II CBC 2014-2020 is Euro 25.2 million.
The mechanism through which cross border cooperation is implemented is through projects. Those projects are funded through grants. The grants are awarded to a selection of local non-profit organizations. This selection usually takes place based on the quality of proposals that organizations have submitted and that fit within the border region’s development priorities as described in that specific CBC programme. The exception to this rule is the situation in which it is agreed beforehand to do one specific CBC project. In all other cases where a selection of project proposals takes place, a public announcement has been made inviting organizations to submit their proposals. Such an announcement is called a call for proposals.
A key characteristic of a cross border cooperation project is that it is completely joint, with a representation on each side of the border. The CBC programme itself is jointly prepared by the participating countries; then the institutions to be created for the implementation of the CBC programme through projects is also joint (first there is a Joint Task Force, then a Joint Monitoring Committee and also a Joint Technical Secretariat); then the project proposals should also be submitted jointly by the project partners from both sides of the border; and of course: the project itself should be jointly benefiting both sides of the border.
The main aim of cross border cooperation is to reduce the negative effects of borders as administrative, legal and physical barriers, tackle common problems and exploit untapped potential. Through joint management of programmes and projects, mutual trust and understanding are strengthened and the cooperation process is enhanced. Cross border cooperation deal with a wide range of issues, which include:
• Encouraging entrepreneurship, especially the development of SMEs, tourism, culture and cross-border trade;
• Improving joint management of natural resources;
• Supporting links between urban and rural areas;
• Improving access to transport and communication networks;
• Developing joint use of infrastructure;
• Administrative, employment and equal opportunities work.
• Whether the challenge relates to infrastructure (building bridges), to markets and services (linking universities to business to clients) or to cultural or linguistic barriers, cross-border co-operation is intended to address them.
At the national level, the CBC management and CBC coordination (inter-ministerial and with the Operating Structure in the partner country) is the responsibility of the “Operating Structure” which is naturally part of the government structures.
Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC)
The JMC is the Cross-border Programme’s decision making body. The JMC consists of representatives at governmental, regional and local level of the beneficiaries, including representatives of the Operating Structures and of stakeholders in the programme area. The European Commission representatives participate in the work of the JMC in an advisory capacity.
The JMC meets at least twice per year at the initiative of the participating beneficiaries or of the European Commission and is chaired by a representative of Montenegro or Kosovo on a rotating basis. Joint Technical Secretariat The Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS) is the administrative body of the programme responsible for its day-to-day management. The = JTS is responsible for drafting and launching the Call for Proposals, informing potential grant applicants, organizing partner search forums, and supporting the JMC on the grant evaluation process. The JTS is also responsible for informing the target audience (the intended final beneficiaries of projects) in the programme region and the wider public about the developments related to each specific programme through different communication channels. Once the grants have been awarded the JTS has to pay regular monitoring visits and advise the beneficiaries on implementation of the projects, and act as the secretariat to the JMC and the Operating Structure. (All three partner country programmes) : http://www.cbckosovo.eu/ (Montenegro-Kosovo) : http://www.cbcmne-ks.org/index.php (Kosovo-FYROM): http://ipacbc-mk-ks.net/