- Friday, February 02, 2018 12:50 PM
Struga, 2 February 2018 (MIA) - Vice Premier for European Affairs Bujar Osmani met Friday in Struga with mayors of the Southwest Planning Region, referring to possibilities for greater use of European funds in local and regional projects.
"The visit aims at detecting the needs of these municipalities, to see how the government can support the realization of projects. The country's capacity to absorb IPA funds is increasing by the day, with 96 percent usage within one of its pillars in 2017," said Osmani, who is also the national coordinator for the IPA funds.
He said cross-border cooperation projects would be in the focus in the coming period, both through IPA 2 and other ways to finance bilateral agreements.
"An important period is ahead for the country, we are awaiting the Enlargement Strategy and a date for the start of accession talks, meaning an intensive reform agenda. This requires funds and the IPA helps raising the living standards as a prerequisite for EU membership. Municipalities represent an important pillar on this path and this meeting aims at securing a coordinated approach," added Osmani.
About EUR 100 million are earmarked for Macedonia in the new IPA programming period up to 2020.
"Municipalities are potential applicants for the funds' use, but quality projects are a necessary prerequisite," said Stojan Saveski of the center for development of the Southwest Planning Region.
He noted that the nine municipalities within the region used only about ten percent of the funds at disposal in 2017. ik/12:48
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