'Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

‘Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Cross-border Programme’, receiving Community assistance from the cross-border co-operation component of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)


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On 14 December 2007 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Programme between Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 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 five Bulgarian and Macedonian regions that lie along their common border: the Bulgarian districts of Kuystendil and Blagoevgrad and Macedonian regions North-East, East and South-East.  
Community funding for the programme over the period 2007-2011 is worth around €12.1 million, supplemented in turn by about €2.1 million of national funding from the two participating countries. The programme’s total budget therefore is approximately €14.2 million.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The Cross-border Co-operation Programme is a continuation of the previous Neighbourhood Programme 2004-06. The overall aim remains largely unchanged - sustainable development in the border region that supports wider European co-operation and integration efforts. This overall aim has been broken down into three specific objectives by the participating countries. These are:
- To foster sustainable economic growth: providing support for economic development, e.g. through the diversification of economic activities in rural areas, the development of product chains, and the provision of support for innovations and new technologies.
- To promote social cohesion and co-operation: fostering a real sense of sharing through support for human-resource development and the labour market, cultural exchanges and cross-border networks. - To further develop the attractiveness and quality of people’s lives in the border region: protecting and jointly managing valuable natural and cultural resources, safeguarding biodiversity, and expanding sustainable tourism by harnessing the region’s natural and cultural environment.

2. The expected impact of the investment

A series of indicators, applicable to each of the programme’s priorities, has been developed by the participating countries in order to allow progress to be evaluated over the course of the programme’s implementation. Results will be measured in terms of cross-border movements of people and goods, business start-ups, employment rates, pollution levels, levels of environment awareness, etc.

3. Priority axes

In order to achieve its specific and global objectives, the programme works on two main thematic priorities, with a third priority dedicated to the programme’s management (‘technical assistance’ priority). The Bulgaria-the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-13 is subdivided into the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: Economic development and social cohesion [approximately 40% of total funding]

This first priority focuses primarily on business and employment issues. The aim is to create better conditions for fledgling enterprises to grow and also improve conditions for employment and social integration. Research, innovation, entrepreneurship, clustering and marketing activities are encouraged and supported while the human dimension is feature strongly in activities in the fields of education, training, child care, social integration of vulnerable groups, etc.

Priority axis 2: Improvement of the quality of life [approximately 50% of total funding]

This second priority is aimed at protecting and managing the natural and cultural resources that are so vital for the future of the border region. Support is provided for activities in the field of environmental protection (e.g. safeguarding existing biodiversity, joint management of natural sites) and natural disaster prevention. There is also a number of activities related to awareness heightening and education among the local population.
The same priority also addresses cultural resources, with financial support assigned to projects aiming to preserve and promote the region’s many important cultural sites. Co-operation is given firm encouragement through the joint development of cultural tourist routes criss-crossing the border and through exchanges of experiences and best practices.

Priority axis 3: Technical assistance [approximately 10% of total funding]

This third priority aims to ensure the effective and efficient administration and implementation of the programme. It makes provision for the programme’s overall administration and evaluation and also for publicity and communication activities.

Financial and Technical information

'Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Economic development and social cohesion 4 854 471 856 672 5 711 143
Improvement of the quality of life 6 068 089 1 070 839 7 138 928
Technical assistance 1 213 618 214 168 1 427 786
Total 12 136 178 2 141 679 14 277 857