In the enlargement context, the bilateral and regional cultural cooperation activities are recognised as making a fundamental contribution to the promotion of European values and intercultural dialogue. This is of particular relevance in the Western Balkans, where in addition to fostering democratisation, reconciliation and respect for human rights, culture contributes to the development of the local economy.
The IPA offers financial assistance to candidate and potential candidate countries. Through bilateral actions financial support is provided for cultural heritage purposes.
Since 2003 in South East Europe, the EC and the CoE have been conducting a joint action on the rehabilitation of cultural heritage, the "Integrated Rehabilitation Project Plan/Survey of the Architectural and Archaeological Heritage (IRPP/SAAH)". Participating countries in this regional cooperation project are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo , the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
The Task Force was established in 2010 with IPA Multi-Beneficiary funds for the institutionalisation of the Ljubljana Process (common regional methodology for the rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in the Western Balkans). A methodology assembled in cooperation between the EC and the CoE will be implemented by the countries in the region within the institutional umbrella of the RCC and under the supervision of international experts.
The pilot project (2008 and 2009) and the preparatory actions (2010, 2011) funded by a European Parliament line serve to develop a wider approach for preserving and restoring cultural heritage in conflict areas. So far, two Pilot Projects and one preparatory action have been implemented. The combination of all these activities has resulted in the programming of five projects altogether in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia.