Bulgaria and North Macedonia agree cross-border cooperation in forest firefighting

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A cross-border network for natural disaster response has been established under a project between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, involving 26 municipalities on both sides of the border.

The project, which concluded with a conference on Thursday, was implemented by the Association of South-Western Municipalities (ASWM) on the Bulgarian side and the Centre for Development of the South-Eastern Planning Region of the Republic of North Macedonia under the Interreg-IPA program for cross-border cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

Lyubitsa Tomova, executive director of the ASWM, said that the project involved mainly voluntary units on the Bulgarian side and professional firefighting services on the side of the North Macedonia. A number of trainings have since been held, both in theory and in practice. In addition to the training programme, the project has established a cross-border network for response to natural and man-made disasters, and has supplied personal protective equipment and fire-fighting equipment. 

A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed during Thursday’s closing conference. Tomova invited everyone who is willing and recognises themselves in the objectives set in the memorandum to join and work in this direction within the next one month.

Zulieta Gjurgova, sector manager at the Development Centre of the South-Eastern Planning Region of the Republic of North Macedonia, called the agreement one of the best projects for this period of the Interreg-IPA programme and the work between the two countries, and it creates the basis that facilitates future volunteer trainings.

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