Regional development in the framework of the Eastern Partnership
What is it?
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) promotes enhanced policy dialogue and bilateral cooperation in the field of regional development, including through "pilot regional development programmes" (PRDPs).The goal is to share experience and key elements of the EU cohesion policy with each EaP partner country, especially on how to reduce socio-economic disparities among regions within the same country.
How does it work?
- The issue of regional development and possible bilateral cooperation with the EU is part of policy dialogue with each EaP country. As for any other sector, solutions are country-specific. They are based on: needs and policy commitment of each country, synergies with the overall EU assistance package, including the EU Member States' activities, and donors' coordination. Cooperation at regional level (involving several countries in one single programme) is not envisaged.
- EU support for each country in 2012 and/or in 2013 includes an element of "pilot regional development"(PRDPs). This can be framed as a stand-alone project, or as part of a wider institution building or sector support programme. Depending on the needs and strategic interests of the country, regional and rural development may be associated in the same programme.
- In some countries, such as Ukraine and Georgia, EU cooperation was already focused on regional development. The EaP funds aim to build upon existing experiences and lessons learned. For example in Georgia, there is a large ongoing programme on regional development, which helps regions improving statistics, preparing strategies for development and creating regional development councils.
- Other countries, such as Moldova and Armenia, are using the opportunity under the EaP to enter the sector for the first time. In Moldova for instance, the funding will help improving regional statistics and developing capacities of relevant institutions such as Regional Development Agencies.
- In Azerbaijan, some preparatory activities take place as part of wider institution building and policy advice programmes.
- The involvement of civil society and local communities is of greatest importance and is pursued in complementarity with other EU dedicated instruments, including the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility.
Total amount for pilot regional development programmes (PRDPs): €62 million from the ENPI budget 2012-2013. This is part of the €350 million additional funds that accompanied the launch of the Eastern Partnership.
The overall PRDPs allocation is broken down in five country allocations. Belarus is not participating in the PRDPs.
These funds are coupled with significant amounts from the bilateral assistance packages.
To find out more about regional development and PRDPs in each EaP partner country, please consult Annual Action Programmes 2012-2013.