Inter-regional co-operation – covering the gaps
Most assistance managed by EuropeAid is channelled through national and regional programmes covered by the EU’s European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI). However, an Inter-regional Programme (IRP) has also been established to support the ENPI southern and eastern regions. Such a programme is required because some aid activities can be managed more efficiently and flexibly at inter-regional level.
An inter-regional approach can enhance the visibility of certain actions and lead to more coherent implementation of support mechanisms. The Inter-regional Programme also aims to strengthen dialogue and co-operation between the EU and its eastern and southern neighbours.
The IRP gets around administrative obstacles, such as having to find funds from two separate programmes for an action involving, for example, Ukraine and Morocco. And the IRP is particularly useful for:
- Bottom-up, small-scale actions where a speedy and flexible response is needed.
- Some activities implemented by international organisations.
- Programmes that are new to a region, where it is difficult to predict demand or allocate funds between countries.
The European Commission has set aside €523.9 million for the IRP, to be spent between 2007 and 2010 – that works out as an average of €131 million for each year.
The IRP has the following priority areas:
- Promoting reform
- Promoting higher education
- Promoting inter-regional dialogue
- Promoting implementation of the ENP and of the Strategic Partnership with Russia
- Promoting investment through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF)