Closing of “Programme for Strengthening the Central Bank Capacities in the Western Balkans with a view to the Integration to the European System of Central Banks”


16/12/2021

The closing ceremony of the project “Programme for Strengthening the Central Bank Capacities in the Western Balkans with a view to the Integration to the European System of Central Banks”, which beneficiary was the Central Bank of Montenegro (CBCG), was held today at the Bundesbank premises in Frankfurt.


Together with 19 national central banks of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission, the Deutsche Bundesbank implemented the Programme aimed at further strengthening the institutional capacities of the final beneficiary institutions, notably by enhancing their analytical and policy tools and by transferring the best international and European standards into national practices. The programme beneficiaries were the CBCG, the Bank of Albania, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Banking Agency of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Banking Agency of Republika Srpska, the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia and the National Bank of Serbia. The Programme was implemented from the European Union’s financial support to central banks and banking supervision agencies in the candidate countries for the membership in the EU and potential candidate countries from the Western Balkan. The European Union (EU) allocated 2 million euros to the Programme from its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II).


At the final Programme Steering Committee meeting and the closing event held today by the Deutsche Bundesbank, Professor Joachim Wuermeling, Member of the Deutsche Bundesbank Executive Board, underscored that “this programme is a prime example of a truly collaborative approach from the ESCB.”


“Through joint activities, the ESCB has proven itself to be a strong partner in the central banking community and stands ready to support our colleagues from the Western Balkans in their efforts to achieve the highest standards for the benefit of their economies and their people”, said Wuermeling.


Florian Hauser, Team Leader in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, underlined that “the Programme represents an important contribution to improving economic governance in the Western Balkans and it supports the preparation of central banks in the Western Balkans for their integration into the ESCB.”


Over a period spanning 33 months, the Deutsche Bundesbank, 19 national central banks and the ECB organised an intensive regional training programme on key central banking and supervisory issues, with 20 training events for 360 experts. 


The training focussed particularly on the areas of banking supervision, financial stability, financial consumer protection and financial inclusion, recovery and resolution, monetary policy, payment systems, statistics, compliance and EU integration, governance policies, accounting and internal audit. There were also two policy workshops for decision-makers on the non-performing loans resolution and governance issues. In addition, the Programme implemented bilateral measures and internships benefiting the six Western Balkan EU candidate countries and potential candidates, which were defined in the meetings of the Programme Steering Committee. Representatives of the beneficiary institutions highlighted important achievements, such as financial consumer protection, foreign reserve management, international relations, payment systems, prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, resolution of financial institutions, and statistics. 


Despite the exceptional circumstances arising from the pandemic, the Programme was successfully implemented in full. It owed to the constant support of the European Commission and the highly accommodating attitude of all the programme members and experts involved. During the pandemic, digitalisation and IT-driven tools substituted traditional face-to-face meetings. 


The Programme was carried out by the Deutsche Bundesbank in partnership with the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique, Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank), Česká národní banka (the Czech National Bank), the Bank of Greece, the Banco de España, the Banque de France, Hrvatska narodna banka (the Croatian National Bank), the Central Bank of Ireland, the Banca d’Italia, Lietuvos bankas, the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the National Bank of Hungary), De Nederlandsche Bank, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, the Narodowy Bank Polski, the Banco de Portugal, the Banca Naţională a României, Banka Slovenije (the Bank of Slovenia) and Národná banka Slovenska (the National Bank of Slovakia). The ECB contributed to the Programme implementation, and a short film has been made to give impressions of the Programme.