Operational Programme 'Slovenia - Austria'

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


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On 21 December 2007, the European Commission approved a Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme between Slovenia and Austria for the period 2007-13. The Programme involves providing Community support as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for specific Austrian and Slovenian regions that lie along their common border.

The core programme area includes the Austrian regions of Oststeiermark West and Südsteiermark, Klagenfurt – Villach, Unterkärnten and Südburgenland, along with the Slovenian regions of Gorenjsko, Koroško, Savinjsko, Podravsko and Pomursko. All of the above are classed as NUTS III regions. The areas of Graz, Obersteiermark Ost, Obersteiermark West and Oberkärnten in Austria and Osrednjeslovensko in Slovenia may take part in projects as an adjacent area, i.e. receiving a maximum 20% of the ERDF funding allocated to the Programme.

The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective and has a total budget of around €79 million. Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to some €67 million, which represents approximately 0.8% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-13.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The main challenges for cross-border cooperation between the two countries are to:

  • contribute to the sustainable development and economic integration of the cooperation area, bearing in mind the different levels of development that exist in the regions; and
  • increase the profile of the programme area and boost its international competitiveness by taking advantage of its strategic location, development potential and innovative capacities.

The Programme must also take advantage of the development opportunities that have emerged since Slovenia’s accession to the EU and prepare for the suspension of transnational provisions in the Austrian labour market.

To address these issues, the Programme aims to increase competitiveness in key economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture. It also seeks to improve the research and knowledge base and upgrade local infrastructure. In addition, the programme intends to improve education and employment opportunities and increase quality of life by promoting cooperation in fields such as culture, health and social affairs.

In addition, support will be provided to promote sustainable cross-border projects, particularly in environmental areas like renewable energy and the management of natural resources.

2. Expected impact of the investment

The Operational Programme aims to develop a competitive and sustainable cooperation area that offers greater access to work and income opportunity. It should also have a positive impact on areas such as:

  • rural development and tourism;
  • the preservation and conservation of natural and cultural assets;
  • the promotion of regional and cultural identity; and
  • the strengthening of health cooperation and regional development.

In addition, the Programme aims to create better cross-border transport connections and support environmental protection measures. Work will also focus on improving management capacities and encouraging institutional networking.

3. Priority axes

The Programme is structured around the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: Competitiveness, knowledge and economic cooperation [approximately 42.2% of the total budget]

This priority focuses on raising competitiveness through cross-border cooperation and intends to tackle the various challenges that can hamper transition to a knowledge-based economy.

Boosting competitiveness and economic growth should produce more employment opportunities in the participating regions. The Programme also aims to reduce development disparities and thus contribute to the economic and social integration of the cross-border area.

Priority axis 2: Sustainable and balance development [approximately 51.8% of the total budget]

The aim here is to contribute to the sustainable and balanced development of the Programme area by securing and activating the region’s environmental, social and cultural resources. This priority also seeks to improve the quality of cross-border cooperation at local and regional levels.

Priority axis 3: Technical assistance [approximately 6.0% of the total budget]

Technical assistance is available to help implement the Programme. Financial support can cover administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Slovenia - Austria'

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
Competitiveness, knowledge and economic cooperation 28 293 931 4 993 047 33 286 978
Sustainable and balanced development 34 790 857 6 139 563 40 930 420
Technical assistance 4 026 689 710 593 4 737 282
Total 67 111 477 11 843 203 78 954 680