On November 21st 2017, WBF organized in Tirana the first Info Session, related to the Call for Regional Project proposals. The ceremony was organized at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania (MEFA), in the presence of Minister Ditmir Bushati, ambassadors from EU, WB6 and Vishegrad Group. More than 120 Civil Society organizations, members of Academia, universities, arts, business, culture sports associations etc. participated to the event. This was the first WBF info session, to be followed by same events Skopje, Pristine, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Belgrade.
The Executive Director of the Western Balkans Fund, Dr. Gjergj Murra underlined the role of WBF as the first “built-in” initiative in the WB6 region and highlighted the importance of the decision of WB6 Governments for creating the WBF, as a groundbreaking instrument for enhancing regional cooperation and people to people contacts in our region.
Mr. Szabolcs VARGA, the Charge D ’Affairs of the Hungary, the actual Presidency of Vishegrad V4 Group, speaking in their behalf, expressed the strong support of V4 Group to the WBF activities and objectives. “We believe that the WBF has the potential to contribute to good neighborly relations and mutual trust in the Western Balkans, as well as to strengthening security and stability of the region” Mr. Varga added.
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Mr. Ditmir Bushati, addressing the event, expressed his personal content that MEFA was the host this important gathering of Civil Society representatives. “Thanking you all for the participation and for the opportunity given to me in this important day; I hope a lot and we will work with our colleagues in Western Balkans that the info sessions of WBF, as it is a regional and not an Albanian initiative – I should emphasize this – to have the desirable attention and support. WBF is one of the first initiatives where the governments of Western Balkans has taken the engagement with the funds, that now are modest, but we will work to increase that gradually”, Minister Bushati emphasized.
During the session, the experts of WBF Secretariat, explained in details the objectives, the content of the First Call and also informed the audience about the practical issues, for potential candidates to be successful on their applications. They also answered the questions that the audience addressed regarding specific topics of WBF First Call.
The First Call of the Western Balkans Fund plans to support projects in these fields:
- Cultural Cooperation;
- Education and Scientific Exchanges;
- Sustainable Development;
Western Balkans Fund is an inter-governmental initiative, established by Contracting Parties of WB6 (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.) This is the first regional initiative with its headquarters in Tirana. The main aim of the projects is the promotion of the common values among citizens, Civil Society and institutions in the region, strengthening the collaboration and the contacts people-to-people in the Western Balkans.