Operational Programme 'Hungary - Romania'

Programme under the European Territorial Co-operation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Hungary

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On 21 December 2007 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Programme between Hungary and Romania for the period 2007-2013. The Programme involves Community support for the following regions in Hungary: Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hajdú-Bihar, Békés, Csongrád; and the following regions in Romania: Sutu-Mare, Bihor, Arad, and Timis.

The total budget of the Programme is about €275 million, with Community assistance through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounting to some €224 million. This represents approximately 2.6% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Co-operation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The programme's overall strategic goal is to bring the people, communities and economic actors of the border area closer to each other in order to facilitate joint development of the co-operation area, building upon the key strengths of the border region.

The eligible border area is consistent and generally exhibits broadly similar economic and social conditions. The area is rich in various natural resources: for example, the abundance of rivers is an important asset, but also carries the risk of major floods and cross-border river pollution. With regard to the major economic sectors, agriculture and the food industry play a key role in the economy of the entire region.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays an important role in developing and restructuring the economy of the border area. While large businesses and multinational companies operate successfully, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area are still weak and unemployment continues to fuel social problems, primarily in rural areas. Another major challenge is the very limited level of Research & Development (R&D) activity.

The road infrastructure and the international accessibility of the area have been greatly improved with the development of motorway connections. However, accessibility to small rural settlements, especially in the immediate proximity of national borders, remains badly compromised.

With regard to public utilities, the picture is a varied one: whereas in Hungary most of utilities are up to modern standards, on the Romanian side of the border more serious challenges are being faced. Lack of broadband Internet access is a problem in small settlements on both sides of the border.

2. Expected impact of investments

The programme is aimed at improving transport infrastructure to facilitate better access within the border area, improving flows of information on joint opportunities within the border area, and at the efficient use and also protection of shared natural resources in the border area. Moreover, economic ties shall be reinforced in the border area to boost sustainable economic development, building on the various comparative advantages. Greater social and cultural coherence among people and communities is also the aim of the programme's activities. This will ensure gender equality, make allowance for the specific needs of people who are disadvantaged, disabled or from ethnic minority backgrounds, and provide measures for the protection of the natural and man-made environment in order to support sustainable development.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following four priorities:

Priority 1: Improvement of key conditions for joint sustainable development in the co-operation area [approximately 48.9% of total funding]

This priority is aimed at improving cross-border transport facilities and cross-border communication, and at protecting the environment. This goal will be accomplished through the following actions: construction, rehabilitation, widening of roads and sections of cross-border railway lines, feasibility studies, engineering blueprints and documents (EIA), plans for cross-border public transport services, building up the broadband Internet infrastructure, Community access programmes, development of facilities for cross-border newscasts.

Regarding the environment, actions are envisaged in the area of nature protection (co-operation between institutions, joint management plans and infrastructure in protected areas, joint conferences, workshops, exhibitions), water resources and quality management (co-operation between institutions, flood forecasts and prevention) and reducing pollution (solid waste collection and processing systems, exchange of good practices involving waste management).

Priority 2: Strengthening social and economic cohesion in the border area [approximately 41.3% of total funding]

This is aimed at enhancing the area's economic competitiveness by developing the business environment and improving human resources. The planned areas for intervention are: support for cross-border business co-operation (investment in business infrastructure and promotion of cooperation); promotion of co-operation in R&D and innovation; co-operation in the labour market; and education – joint development of skills and knowledge, health care, preventing common threats, and cooperation between communities.

Priority 3: Technical Assistance [approximately 9.8% of total funding]

This includes actions in support of programme implementation. It will provide overall assistance to the Operational Programme for project preparation, programme management and implementation, and also programme publicity and evaluation.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Hungary - Romania'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007CB163PO067

Number of decision

C/2007/6602

Final approval date

21/12/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Improvement of key conditions for joint sustainable development in the co-operation area 114 482 217 20 202 744 134 684 961
Strengthening social and economic cohesion in the border area 96 524 222 17 033 686 113 557 908
Technical Assistance 13 468 496 13 468 496 26 936 992
Total 224 474 935 50 704 926 275 179 861