Territorial Co-operation

The European territorial cooperation financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is meant to support the harmonious and balanced integration of the EU territory by stimulating the cooperation in regions of high importance for the Community at cross border, transnational and interregional levels.

The Operational programmes are:

  • Programmes for cross-border cooperation of the internal borders of the EU - Bulgaria-Greece and Bulgaria-Romania. These programmes are financed by the ERDF;
  • Programmes for cross-border cooperation of the external borders of the EU - Bulgaria-Turkey, Bulgaria-FYRoM, Bulgaria-Serbia. These three programmes will be financed both by the ERDF and by the EU Instrument for pre-accession aid;
  • The Joint Operational Programme in the Black Sea Basin which is financed by ERDF and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI);
  • The transnational cooperation programme in the South East European Space;
  • The interregional cooperation programme INTERREG IVC;
  • The INTERACT II programme for operational cooperation;
  • ESPON 2013 Operational programme (the European Spatial Planning Observation Network programme);
  • URBACT II Operational Programme.

Under Objective 3 "European territorial cooperation" Bulgaria will participate in cooperations in the following generalized spheres:

  • Stimulating the entrepreneurship, particularly the development of SMEs, tourism, culture and cross border trade;
  • Stimulating and improvement of the joint preservation and management of the natural and cultural resources, as well as prevention of natural and technological risks;
  • Support for the relations between the urban and rural areas;
  • Minimizing the isolation by improved access to transport, information and communication networks and services and by cross border systems and equipments for water, waste and energy;
  • Elaboration of the cooperation, capacity and joint use of infrastructure, esp. in sectors like health services, culture, tourism and education;
  • Stimulating the development of cross border labour markets, local initiatives for employment, gender equality and equal opportunities, education and social inclusion;
  • Elaboration of the institutional and administrative capacity at regional and local level and giving technical assistance to the preparation of new projects.

The interregional cooperation is included as an operation in Priority axis 4 "Regional and local networks, cooperation and capacity for absorption" in OP Regional Development 2007-2013, which will be financed by ERDF for a clearer support for the linkages between Objectives 1 and 3 of the new Cohesion Policy.

Characteristics and specific features of the programmes and projects under Objective 3

The CBC programmes for the period 2007-2013 are based on the experience gained in the implementation of bipartite and multipartite programmes and initiatives like the former PHARE CBC and Neighbourhood / INTERREG IIIB CADSES / INTERREG IIIC. They are inspired by the current challenges at regional and local level but at the same time comply with the more general European politics and strategies like the European Spatial Development Perspective from 1999 and the new platform "Regions for economic change".

The cross border, transnational and interregional programmes for cooperation aim at giving a specific and purposeful territorial dimension to the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies via a review of the geographic apportionment of growth, innovations and the processes in the labour market in the eligible cross border and transnational areas and the EU as a whole, and via the provision of integrated and genuine joint actions for sustainable development of the participating countries.

Although the priorities of these programmes may correspond to given national and European sectoral policies, unlike the sectoral policies, the territorial cooperation programmes support activities of a completely different type. The selected projects contribute to an integrated territorial development through the wide partnership approach - engaging different sectors and management levels) and obligatorily meet two of the following four criteria:

  • Joint project development;
  • Joint implementation;
  • Joint team;
  • Joint financing.

The programmes under Objective 3 are not suitable for financing high-cost and long-term investment projects (just like the programmes under Objective 1). They are suitable for soft, low-scale activities and measures of the "people-to-people" type. The project should have a clear impact beyond national borders and should include aspects like territory, multi-sectoral approach, level of partner's inclusion, which are not eligible or possible for financing within the framework of the sectoral programmes.

The web portal is developed and maintained under Project 0045-CIO-3.2 "Maintenance and development of а Single information web portal for Structural and Cohesion Funds in Bulgaria www.eufunds.bg" (BG161PO002-3.2.01-0004-C0001). The project is implemented with the financial support of Operational Programme "Technical Assistance" co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund