30 winners of the 4th Call for Proposals, the first co-funded by the European Union, received tonight the Awards, handed to them by distinguished guests, Ministers, Ambassadors, European Union representatives, Members of the WBF Governing Body and partners.
On behalf of the European Union, a speech was delivered by H.E. Alexis Hupin, Chargé d’Affaires, European Union Delegation to Albania.
“EU is actually a project that started based on an idea of good neighbourly relations. If we go fast forward to EU 2022, the turn of events next door, the War on Ukraine, has once more shed light on the importance of good neighbourly relations, respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity”, underlined Mr. Hupin.
The WBF Executive Director, Mr Murra, underlined that “because of the ever-increasing contribution and support from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and European Union, the Western Balkans Fund has become a showcase of success stories of regional cooperation”.
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Deputy Minister Megi Fino considered the awarding ceremony a revealing sign of EU foreign policy success: “Without the European Integration perspective, none of this could have been achieved”. From the Belgrade Chairmanship-in-Office of the Fund, Mr Pavle Jankovic appreciated the co-funded Grant Scheme as a “ground-breaking mechanism that promotes cooperation on a wide scale”.
In the end, Fjordi Bisha, the WBF/EU joint action project manager outlined the most important details of this Call for Proposals.
The application process for the first co-funded Call for Proposals was launched on 8 November 2021. Two hundred seven projects from almost 750 stakeholders were submitted within the deadline. The evaluation process was conducted in the first months of 2022 with the help of external experts. The 30 winning projects target flagship issues, such as green and digital economy, human rights, gender equality, education, research, cultural cooperation, etc.
The Western Balkans Fund is an international organisation established by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans region in 2017. Before the co-funded Grant Scheme, the WBF launched three other successful Call for Proposals, funding 68 projects with 10.000 direct beneficiaries.