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Regional cooperation

Regional cooperation is an important component of the enlargement process, complementary to the bilateral cooperation.

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:

  • to facilitate exchange of experience and best practice between the Member States, the candidate countries and the potential candidates as well as among the participating countries;
  • to help jointly tackle environmental challenges and provide a forum for the Commission to communicate to the concerned countries the recent developments in the EU environmental policy.

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:

  • to continue strengthening regional cooperation in the fields of environment and climate action;
  • to assist the beneficiary countries on their way towards the transposition and implementation of the EU environmental and climate policies and instruments which is a key precondition for EU accession.

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.