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 Bundesbanktoday was the closing ceremony of an EU-funded program for the benefit of the Bank of Albania, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Banking Agency of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Banking Agency of Republika Srpska, Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Central Bank of Montenegro, National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia and National Bank of Serbia. The objective of the program was to further strengthen the institutional capacities of the final beneficiary institutions, in particular by improving their analytical and policy tools and by transferring the best international and European standards into national practices. The European Union (EU) has allocated €2 million to the program from its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II).
During the final meeting of the Program Steering Committee and the closing event organized today by the Deutsche Bundesbank, Professor Joachim Wuermeling, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, underlined: “This program is an excellent example of a truly collaborative approach by the ESCB. Acting collectively and in unison, the ESCB has proven to be a strong partner within the central banking community. and stands ready to support our Western Balkan colleagues in their efforts to achieve the highest standards for the benefit of their economies and their peoples.” Mr. Florian Hauser, Team Leader in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, underlined: “The program represents an important contribution to improving economic governance in the Western Balkans. It supports the preparation of Western Balkan central banks for their integration into the European System of Central Banks.”
Over a period of 33 months, the Deutsche Bundesbank, 19 national central banks and the ECB organized an intensive regional training program on key central banking and supervisory issues, with 20 trainings for 360 experts. The training focused in particular on the areas of banking supervision, financial stability, financial consumer protection and financial inclusion, recovery and resolution, monetary policy, payment systems , statistics, EU compliance and integration, governance policies, accounting and internal audit. There were also two policy workshops for policymakers on addressing non-performing loans and governance issues. In addition, the program implemented bilateral measures and internships for the six candidate and potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans, which were defined during the meetings of the steering committee of the programme. Representatives of beneficiary institutions highlighted important achievements, for example in the areas of financial consumer protection, management of foreign exchange reserves, international relations, payment systems, prevention of money laundering and the fight against the financing of terrorism, the resolution of financial institutions and statistics.
Despite the exceptional circumstances related to the pandemic, the program was fully implemented successfully. This is thanks to the constant support of the European Commission, as well as the very accommodating attitude of all program members and experts involved. During the pandemic, digitization and IT tools replaced traditional face-to-face meetings, but some sacrifices had to be made in personal interaction and relationship building.
The program was carried out by the Deutsche Bundesbankin partnership with National Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique, Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank), Česká národní banka, Bank of Greece, Banco de España, Banque de France, Hrvatska narodna banka, Central Bank of Ireland, Banca d’Italia, Lietuvos bankas, Banque centrale du Luxembourg, Magyar Nemzeti Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank, Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Narodowy Bank Polski, Banco de Portugal, Banca Naţională a României, Banka Slovenije and Národná banka Slovenska. The European Central Bank contributed to the implementation of the programme.
A short film was made to give impressions of the program and to provide feedback from participants. It is accessible via the following link.