18 May, 2022 - In a ceremony organized by the Albanian Regulatory Authority of the Water Supply (WRA), the heads of economic regulators of the water sector in the Western Balkans, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, signed the first Agreement of Cooperation, which addresses common challenges in the field of water supply and wastewater services, advancing the implementation of EU water legislation and laying the foundation for regional cooperation program.
This agreement was signed in the presence of Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania, Mrs. Enkelejda Muçaj and the President of the European Association of Water Regulators (WAREG, Mr. Andrea Guerrini.
In his welcoming speech, the President of the WRA Mr. Ndriçim Shani stated: “This is the day when the four Balkan water regulators gather together”, emphasizing that the cooperation between them dates back to earlier through bilateral agreements, but that over time the need arose to take this relationship between states to a higher level, which in addition to common elements also have differences in the water sector. “In our region there are similarities and common factors that characterize border regulators with each other, such as: mentality, level of development, model of governance of the water sector, the dimensions of service areas and the population covered by water supply and wastewater service. But they all have a common mission: to improve the performance and financial sustainability of the sector, and to ensure that water supply and wastewater services companies in a monopoly environment to provide customers with high quality services and stay away from abuses with unjustified tariffs”.
Mrs. Morina, Director of WSRA, first thanked
Mr. Shani for the initiative and organization of the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation between the four countries, emphasizing that this document marks a historic moment of special importance for strengthening cooperation with economic and environmental benefits. “The water sector in Kosovo, despite some positive developments, still has many challenges ahead, which challenges are almost similar in the four economic regulators we represent. The start of this collaboration will help in the exchange of data and information, the exchange of knowledge and consequently the finding of common management strategies. Coping with climate change in particular requires enhanced effort cooperation to meet global challenges at various levels and across borders. This Agreement will facilitate and oblige us to work together towards a common goal of developing the water sector in order to have mutual benefits. The Kosovo Water Regulator is ready to contribute building and strengthening this cooperation”.
On behalf of WAREG, all of four regulators are members of this association, President Mr. Andrea Guerrini guaranteed the provision of technical expertise and institutional support in favour of regional regulatory cooperation in the crucial challenges that have been identified and in compliance with EU standards. “This memorandum is expression of the will of independent regulators in exchanging of knowledge and experience. You are showing today an essential commitment in addressing concrete challenges in the water sector such as: ensuring a good quality of service, actions in the context of climate change and energy crisis, as well as filling gaps due to the lack of the same legislation as the European one.”, said Guerrini in a speech to heads of water regulators, leaving the door open to WAREG to assist in the implementation of this memorandum, such as the exchange of data and information, methodology and management practices in the water sector.
The ceremony organized by WRA, in addition to representatives from four countries in the region, was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, the National Agency for Water Supply and Sanitation, and the European Association of Water Regulators, the Water Supply Association of Albania and some others.