Published on: 16 November 2015

Agreement on the Establishment in Tirana of Western Balkans Fund

In the framework of the Annual Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) and of Western Balkans countries, held in Prague and attended also by Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom Philip Hammond, the Agreement on Establishment in Tirana of the Western Balkans Fund was signed.

The agreement was signed by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia. The establishment of this common fund aims at financing small and medium size projects in fields such as education, culture, environment, youth cooperation, cross-border cooperation, etc. The Fund’s headquarters will be in Tirana. In the press conference held on this occasion, Minister Bushati  emphasized that the signing of this agreemnt was the conclusion of a constructive long-term cooperation among countries of the region. He expressed his gratitude to the Visegrad countries – Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, for their initiative and assistance in establishing a fund according to the model of the International Visegrad Fund. 

The signing ceremony of the Agreement was followed by a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans, during which further steps to be undertaken before the Fund is formalized and its activities are launched were discussed. This is the first time that a regional organization is based in Albania. This is a proof of the increasing contribution of our country to regional cooperation and good neighborliness policies.  

 

++ What is the Western Balkans Fund (WBF)? ++

WBF is a cooperation platform between the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia), set up by the successful model of the International Visegrad Fund.

++ What purpose WBF activity will serve? ++

The purpose of the WBF is to promote common values and develop regional cooperation between citizens, civil society and institutions of the Western Balkans region, providing a concrete "people-to-people" approach for the populace of the member countries.

WBF objectives will be drafted in cooperation with civil society actors and based on common priorities of the countries of Western Balkans.

WBF will finance projects in various fields of common interest such as education, environment, human rights, culture, youth exchanges, cross-border and regional youth cooperation.

++ How will WBF operate? ++

WBF will operate through support and co-financing of small and medium projects in Western Balkan countries. According to the model of the Visegrad Fund, the mechanism of application for funding will be simple and accessible from a wide spectrum of actors ranging from individuals to the youth organizations, regional civil society networks, academic and research institutes, etc.

++ Where will WBF headquarters be? ++

WBF is the first regional initiative based in the capital of Albania. Its offices will be in Tirana and the first Executive Director of the organization will be an Albanian diplomat with experience in the field of regional initiatives. WBF Secretariat will be established with the technical assistance of the Visegrad Fund and will work through coordination of annual priorities of Western Balkan countries.

++ What are the expectations for the WBF activity? ++

WBF will increase interaction between different actors in the region by strengthening the common values of society and regional cooperation in various fields of common interest.

Regional projects will contribute to the growth of the potential of civil society and the exchange of experiences between different actors in the region.

 

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