Regional cooperation is an important component of the enlargement process, complementary to the bilateral cooperation. The regional cooperation process has been supported over the last years in the form of environmental cooperation programmes aiming to facilitate the communication and cooperation between the beneficiary countries in addressing transboundary environmental issues while also facilitating the exchange of information, best practices and experience between the beneficiaries and the Member States.
The European Commission was the driving force in the development of the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme (known as REReP) between 2000-2009.
In June 2007, a meeting of Ministers for Environment from the Western Balkans and Turkey was organised in Brussels to launch an enhanced regional cooperation process in the field of environment, the Regional Environmental Network for Accession (RENA). The programme was running from 2010-2013 and aimed:
The need for a new programme was recognized and formally endorsed by Ministers of the region in September 2012 during the Ministerial Meeting. As a follow-up to RENA project, the Environment and Climate Regional Accession Network (ECRAN) project was running between 2013-2016 and aimed:
The work was done under working groups specialised in environmental (air, nature protection, water, waste, chemicals, etc) and climate (monitoring mechanism, emissions trading system, adaptation, etc) sectors.
In order to foster the dialogue and the cooperation between the public sector and the civil society, a separate pillar of ECRAN was dedicated to the work of NGOs under the so-called NGOs Environment and Climate Forum (ECF). The ECF is the follow-up to the NGOs Environment Forum project that ended in January 2012.
More information is available on the ECRAN website.
A follow-up project to ECRAN to cover the period 2017-2020 is currently under preparation.
Within the EU environmental acquis, waste is one of the most demanding sectors in terms of the resources needed, both human and financial, for the transposition of the relevant EU legislation, and the implementation of measures designed to achieve the outcomes sought.
In order to assist EU candidates and potential candidates with the alignment of the waste legislation, the European Commission (on the request of the European Parliament) commissioned a study entitled: A Comprehensive Assessment of the Current Waste Management Situation in South East Europe and Future Perspectives for the Sector Including Options for Regional Co-operation in Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Waste (also known as the South East Europe Waste Assessment (SEEWA)).
The Study covering six countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, had several components:
The final deliverables of the project are available below: