Operational Programme 'Central Europe'

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


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On 3 December 2007, the European Commission approved a European territorial cooperation programme covering the period 2007-2013. The programme is called “Central Europe” and is aimed at transnational cooperation between eight Member States. The Member States involved are the Czech Republic, Germany (territories in the East and South), Italy (territories in the North-East), Hungary, Austria, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. The Ukraine (western part) will also take part in the programme, providing its own resources as well as a contribution from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Initiative.

The total budget for the Programme is just over €298 million, with Community assistance under the ERDF amounting to some €246 million. This represents approximately 2.8% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The adopted Programme is new within the framework of transnational cooperation, however most of the partners have already cooperated through the INTERREG IIIB programme "CADSES", which has been split into two separate programmes for 2007-2013: "Central Europe" and "South-East Europe".

The overall goal of the Programme is to strengthen territorial cohesion, promote internal integration and enhance the competitiveness of Central Europe. This broad overall aim has the following two strategic objectives:

  • Improving the competitiveness of Central Europe by strengthening innovation and accessibility structures;
  • Improving territorial development in a balanced and sustainable way by enhancing the quality of the environment and developing attractive cities and regions.

2. Expected impact of investments

A series of indicators, applicable to each of the Programme priorities, will be used to evaluate the impact of the Programme on competitiveness, the environment, accessibility, identity of the region, quality of life in cities and regions, etc.

It is expected that the Programme will make a significant contribution towards increasing the overall territorial cohesion of the area, by providing opportunities for public and private operators to seek joint solutions to common problems which go beyond regional and national borders.

3. Priorities

The overall aim and the two strategic objectives have been translated into five thematic priorities, which each target different sectors of socio-economic players active in the area. These priorities are:

Priority 1: Facilitating innovation across Central Europe [approximately 20% of total funding]

The main objective of this priority is to create, across the entire Programme area, a favourable framework for innovation and entrepreneurship. The area's potential in this field is significant, however variations inside the Central Europe area are extremely wide. The partners aim to support projects that foster cooperation at all points along the innovation chain.

Priority 2: Improving accessibility of and within Central Europe [approximately 26% of total funding]

Central Europe is characterised by varied levels of accessibility, ranging from very accessible regions to less accessible large rural and peripheral areas. This priority will provide support for key players in transport to work together to define priorities that need to be addressed in an effort to increase interconnectivity and interoperability in Central Europe. As the Programme does not have sufficient funds to invest in large infrastructure projects, the partners will be encouraged to prepare concrete investment plans which should be submitted to other national or European financing sources. The priority will also aim at sustainability, and as such, carbon-neutral solutions will be encouraged.

Priority 3: Using our environment responsibly [approximately 26% of total funding]

The region covered by the Programme is characterised by high-risk areas in terms of natural disasters such as floods or human-caused accidents. There is also a very rich natural and cultural heritage which needs to be jointly protected and managed. This priority will provide funding for projects in the field of risk management and prevention, management of resources, energy efficiency, etc.

Priority 4: Enhancing competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and regions [approximately 22% of total funding]

Quality of life in Central Europe can be improved through strengthening the capacity of regions and cities in terms of spatial planning and town planning. As a result, exchanges of best practices and common solutions will be promoted in order to improve spatial planning at local and regional levels. Another important aspect of this priority is to look at capitalising on the wealth of existing cultural resources.

Priority 5: Technical assistance [approximately 6% of total funding]

Technical assistance is provided for implementing the Programme. Financial support is also available and covers administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Central Europe'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Facilitating innovation across Central Europe 49 202 215 10 077 562 59 279 777
Improving accessibility of and within Central Europe 63 962 879 13 100 831 77 063 710
Using our environment responsibly 63 962 879 13 100 831 77 063 710
Enhancing competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and regions 54 122 437 11 085 318 65 207 755
Technical assistance 14 760 664 4 920 221 19 680 885
Total 246 011 074 52 284 763 298 295 837