Vienna, 7 October 2013 – The European Project Awards 2013 were presented today on the occasion of the European Parliament session on "Perspectives of territorial cooperation 2014 - 2020". The European Project Association EPA awards the prize to public entities or private organisations. The award is a distinction for projects that provide particularly positive input to regional development in the project countries, have the most effective project partnership and have chosen the most efficient and innovative approach.
This year's winner in the "Ongoing Projects" category is a twinning project managed by the Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and Agrarmarkt Austria in cooperation with German and Hungarian experts. The project revolves around support for the Kosovar Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in specifying and implementing the programme for rural development 2014 – 2020 in line with European standards. Economic development of rural areas is facilitated by innovative agricultural and forestry measures as well as by the promotion of competitiveness of farm operations taking the eco-system and resource-efficient production methods into account. As in all EU-financed twinning projects, special attention is paid to knowledge transfer and a partnership approach.
Twinning is an EU-wide initiative aimed to support (potential) candidate countries in developing efficient administrative systems and public structures so that the countries become able to align their systems with European legal standards and regulations. Austria has been highly active in the twinning efforts since the beginning and has gained an excellent reputation with the many projects it has managed so far. "This tool, that has been in place for years also in the Mediterranean and Caucasus regions, is oriented along practical needs and certainly adds to the stabilisation and development of the countries in our neighbourhood and to creating a safe environment for Austria and Europe. I am particularly happy that this project is to the benefit of the youngest Western Balkan state, Kosovo, that has made good progress since its declaration of independence in 2008", Austrian Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger said.
Contact:Federal Ministry for European and International AffairsPress Department Tel.: +43 (0) 50 1150-3320Fax: +43 (0) 50 1159-213 abti3(at)bmeia.gv.atwww.mfa.at