Bulgaria-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

‘Bulgaria-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme’, receiving Community assistance from the cross-border co-operation component of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)


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On 25 March 2008 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Programme between Bulgaria and Serbia for the period 2007-2013, which is adopted under and co-financed by the cross-border co-operation component of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). The programme involves Community support for twelve Bulgarian and Serbian regions that lie along their common border: the Bulgarian regions of Vidin, Montana, Sofia, Pernik, Kyustendil and Sofia City and Serbian regions Bor, Zaječar, Nišava, Pirot, Jablanica and Pčinja.

Community funding for the programme over the period 2007-2011 is worth around €21.2 million, supplemented in turn by about €3.75 million of national funding from the two participating countries. The programme’s total value therefore is approximately €25 million.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The overall objective of the programme is to boost territorial cohesion in the Bulgarian-Serbian cross-border region as well as the competitiveness and sustainability of its development through co-operation in the economic, social and environmental spheres across administrative borders.
This overall aim has been broken down into three specific objectives by the participating countries. These are:
To bolster infrastructure and improve the environment on both sides of the border through enhanced access to transport, information and communication services, and cross-border systems for utilities and environmental protection.
To increase economic synergies in the region and improve the capacity for joint use of shared regional potential to improve regional prosperity by developing policy and social networks. This provides a solid framework for (cross-border) business support, partnerships (particularly in sectors such as culture, tourism, research and development, environmental protection, education), active exchanges of best practices, and joint regional planning and preparation of the region’s economic sector for participation in the EU market.

To promote the principles of sustainable development in the cross-border region by developing successful models for co-operation between business and co-operation between local stakeholders in key priority areas.

2. The expected impact of the investment

A series of indicators measuring the impact of the programme has been developed in order to allow progress to be evaluated within each programme priority. Results will be measured in terms of small-scale infrastructure (transport and environment), decreased pollution, cross-border movements of people and goods, new cross-border partnerships, financed projects, levels of environment awareness, etc.

3. Priority axes

The programme is implemented through two main priorities plus a ‘technical assistance’ priority. The Bulgaria-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-13 is subdivided into the following priorities: 

Priority axis 1: Development of small-scale infrastructure [approximately 55% of total funding]

This first priority aims to develop partnerships for the improvement of cross-border infrastructures, particularly in relation to spatial integration, the environment, accessibility, the business environment for new business activities, and the extent to which the region appeals to inhabitants and investors. Modernisation of strategic infrastructures, communication and interlinked services in the border area allows optimal use of the region’s resources, fosters growth in key sectors such as business and trade, transport and logistics and services and tourism, and promotes a more flexible labour and education market.

Under this first priority, physical, environmental and information infrastructures, and help with project preparation are envisaged for actions.
Priority axis 2: Enhancing capacity for joint planning, problem solving and development [approximately 35% of total funding]

This second priority aims to improve the programme area’s capacity to deal with issues such as identifying problems and solutions, establishing partnerships, strengthening institutional and business structures in response to market requirements, and establishing models for co-operation based on best practices and common needs. It focuses on improving both the quality and quantity of businesses and also on improving the ability of regional stakeholders to address common issues. Under this priority, the following measures are envisaged: institutional, business and educational links and networks, sustainable development through the efficient use of regional resources and people-to-people actions.

Priority axis 3: Technical assistance [approximately 10% of total funding]
Technical assistance aims to provide effective and efficient administration and implementation of the programme. Under this third priority the following measures are envisaged: administration and evaluation of the programme, and publicity and communication measures.

Financial and Technical information

Bulgaria-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision

C(2008) 1058

Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Development of small-scale infrastructure 11 695 422 2 063 898 13 759 320
Enhancing capacity for joint planning, problem solving and development 7 442 542 1 313 390 8 755 932
Technical assistance 2 126 440 375 254 2 501 694
Total 21 264 404 3 752 542 25 016 946