Water Regulators of the Western Balkans Sign Memorandum of Cooperation

During the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Cooperation. From L to R: Enkelejda Muçaj, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Albania; Branislav Prelevic, President of the Board at Energy Regulatory Agency of Montenegro; Hajrije Morina, Director at Water Regulatory of Kosovo (ARRU) Kosovo; Ndricim Shani, Chairman, Water Regulatory Authority (WRA); Albania, Marko Bislimoski, President of the Energy and Water Services Regulatory Commission, North Macedonia; and Andrea Guerrini, President, European Water Regulators Association (WAREG)
Photo Credit: WRA

On 18th of May 2022, in Tirana, four Economic Regulators of the water sector in the Western Balkans to include Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, signed the first memorandum of cooperation as a framework for developing long-term cooperation and exchange of common practices, information, joint analysis and comparisons of existing water sector regulatory models and performances of water utilities.  This memorandum provides the foundation for a regional cooperation program supported by WAREG, the Association of European Water Regulators.

The ceremony was organized and hosted by the Water Regulatory Authority of Albania (WRA) and it was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, the National Agency for Water Supply and Sewerage, the European Association of Water Regulators, SHUKALB and others.  SHUKALB was represented at the ceremony by its Executive Director, Ms. Elisabeta Poci.

In his welcoming speech, the Chairman of WRA, Mr. Ndriçim Shani declared that: “The 18th of May is the day when the four regulators meet in a table together, but the cooperation between them, dates back earlier. Now, is time to grow further this cooperation between neighboring regulators in the Western Balkan, which share many similarities but also many differences that need to be carefully analyzed. In our countries, there are also currently regulatory instruments differing from each other, in both content and procedures. A comparison and analysis of these experiences would greatly serve to their further development and advancement, and lead to more efficient regulatory instruments. But, they have one common mission: Improving the performance and financial sustainability of the sector, and to guarantee that in a monopoly environment, the water utilities provide customers with high quality services and reasonable tariffs”.

On behalf of the Association of European Water Regulators, the President, Mr. Andrea Guerrini guaranteed the provision of technical expertise and institutional support in favor of regional regulatory cooperation in the crucial challenges identified and in the context of the EU integration processes. “All the four Presidents are friends and also Members of WAREG, an Association that will always support you and where you can find additional instruments of cooperation, from the bilateral relations with experts, to training opportunities and access to direct contacts with European institutions like the Commission and the Parliament, and international organizations like the OECD or the European Investment Bank”, – said in his speech Mr. Guerrini.

The deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Ms. Enkelejda Muçaj congratulated the initiative undertaken by WRA, which serves Albania especially in the implementation of the recently launched water sector reform.

Thanking the host of the ceremony, the three regulators of Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia underlined that this document marks a historic moment of special importance for strengthening their cooperation with economic and environmental benefits.

Participants at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Cooperation
Photo Credit: WRA