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Modernising municipal services in the Western Balkans

Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Modernisation of Municipal Services 

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Cofinancier

    Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2006 to 2028

  • Products and expertise

    Governance and Democracy

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The countries of the Western Balkans are striving to join the European Union. However, the accession process carries along challenges for municipal authorities, especially when it comes to providing public services and developing the local economies. Moreover, local administration and public utility companies lack the necessary skills for proper waste and water management and in many cases the cooperation with private companies and civil society is insuficient. As a result, the countries do not reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and do not yet fulfil EU standards.


Cities and municipalities in the Western Balkan countries are improving conditions for providing public services and developing the local economies in line with EU requirements.


The project fosters regional cooperation and knowledge transfer between the public and private sector and civil society. It also enables local authorities to improve municipal services in accordance with the EU’s Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, contributing to the achievement of Agenda 2030 and SDGs. At the same time, the project improves the local governments to improve the business climate through establishing the Partnership for a Competitive Region (CORE partnership) and the Business Friendly Certification (BFC) programme. The Regional Capacity Development Network for Water and Sanitation (RCDN) was established with support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to make necessary changes the public water sector. Moreover, the project works on improving employment perspectives for vulnerable groups. For seasonal workers it introduces electronic registration systems , which makes it easier for them to find work. To improve efficiency and effectiveness of service provision the project supports the development of smart, green, innovative, and practical digital solutions for municipalities and other public institutions. Furthermore, the project promotes development partnership with the private sector , leveraging additional resources and know-how for the modernisation of municipal services and enabling local economic growth. The project supports harmonisation with EU Acquis Communautaire, particularly chapters 19, 20 and 27.

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Last update: January 2024

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