The European Commission has adopted a number of cross-border cooperation programs, whose cost will total around €1 billion. The programs aim to support social and economic development in the regions on both sides of the EU external borders. “Cross-border cooperation plays a key role in avoiding the creation of new dividing lines. This new funding will further contribute to a more integrated and sustainable regional development in the neighboring border regions and to a more harmonious territorial cooperation on EU’s external borders,” Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, explained.
Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, added that “Cross border cooperation programs are concrete examples of how the EU is working to help citizens address common challenges, hence creating a real sense of solidarity, while boosting the competitiveness of local economies.” The new type of cross-border cooperation will prioritize projects supporting sustainable development along the block’s external borders, thus reducing inequalities in the neighboring regions further aiming to address common challenges. Each program will be assigned four priorities, such as SME development, culture, environment and climate change, fight against poverty, education and research, energy, accessibility, border management.
The new tranche of financing will finance projects in 13 countries in the EU neighborhood: Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Norway and Turkey as well as in EU Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden). The funding will be part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI). Financing deals will be finalized between the partner countries and the EU by the end of this year. Grants will be awarded on the basis of calls for proposals that should be launched by early 2017 at the very latest.