'Romania-Serbia' IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

‘Romania-Serbia IPA 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 27 March 2008 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Programme between Romania 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 marks a continuation of the previous Neighbourhood Programme 2004-2006. It involves Community support for specific Romanian and Serbian regions that lie along their common border: the Romanian regions of Timiş, Caraş-Severin and Mehedinţi and Serbian regions Severnobanatski, Srednjebanatski, Južnobanatski, Braničevski and Borski.

Community funding allocated to the programme for the period 2007-2011 is worth around €36 million. This is supplemented by about €6.3 million of national funding, bringing the programme's total value to approximately €42.3 million.

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The overall aim of the programme is to use joint cross-border projects and common actions by Romanian and Serbian stakeholders as the basis for achieving more balanced and sustainable socio-economic development in the Romanian-Serbian border area.

The programme has been broken down into two specific objectives by the participating countries:
- To increase overall economic competitiveness in the border area. The aim here is to provide a coherent and jointly agreed framework for partners from Romania and Serbia as a means of benefiting from the added value of joint actions, addressing common issues that affect competitiveness, and supporting measures that will support greater competitiveness within the border region as a whole.
- To improve the quality of life for border-area communities. The objective in this case is to tackle issues via joint measures with a pronounced cross-border character (e.g. cross-border environmental impact) and/or where improvements to the quality of life on both sides of the border are being held back by a number of factors.

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 to allow evaluation of progress in 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

The programme is implemented through a simplified structure comprising three main priorities plus a ‘technical assistance’ priority.

Priority 1: Economic and social development [approximately 50% of total funding]
This priority addresses issues related to connectedness, competitiveness and rural development. Its aims are as follows:
Support for local/regional economic and social infrastructures. Local and regional initiatives focus on economic/social infrastructures, including public utilities and socio/educational facilities, and on the development of feasibility studies and other preparatory efforts for large-scale investment activities to be financed by other programmes. Integrated and environmentally compatible local transport connections are also being developed, including local road transport improvements and inter-modal facilities, in order to increase the logistical capacity and efficiency of the border area.
Develop tourism, including the strengthening of the border region’s actual identity as a tourist destination. Tourist attractions are being created, upgraded and improved, and promotional and marketing activities conducted in support of initiatives to promote the region’s cross-border identity as a tourist area. Special attention is paid to initiatives based on exploitation of the potential for health eco-tourism, cultural tourism and spa-based tourism as well as the utilisation/development of national parks.
Promote SME development. Support schemes facilitate improved marketing and business development, including in agriculture. SMEs devise common cross-border products and services with a clear cross-border identity. Advisory services will be developed to assist SMEs with devising associated business activities.
Support for increased levels of Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) and innovation in the border region. Support schemes promote the development of RD&I, in particular for university/business partnerships involving technology transfers, innovation centres and other initiatives. Specific attention is paid to activities designed to stimulate joint innovation and RD&I efforts across all sectors, with the emphasis on projects that promote the wider adoption of innovative approaches to business activity.

Priority 2: Environment and emergency prevention [approximately 26% of total funding]
This second priority recognises a range of common issues faced on both sides of the border in relation to the environment and emergency prevention, which require joint action in order to produce meaningful and sustainable results. Its aims are as follows:
Improve systems and approaches to addressing cross-border environmental challenges, protection and management (including awareness and information campaigns, training courses in the fields of environment and emergency preparedness). Research and preparatory efforts (e.g. feasibility studies) are being conducted. At the same time, the implementation of national and EU environmental legislative frameworks governing the environment and emergency prevention will be enhanced, as will be the design of specific cross-border emergency procedures and joint management systems (flood, health, food safety).
Develop and implement effective strategies for waste and waste water management. Support is planned for the development, updating and implementation of joint cross-border strategies/action plans for waste and waste water management.
More effective systems and approaches to emergency preparedness (including aspects such as flood prevention/control, food safety and health issues). Training and educational activities and information campaigns on the environment and emergency preparedness are being developed and implemented. Human-resources skills will be enhanced in order to ensure better responses to environmental emergencies. Feasibility studies and other preparatory efforts for large-scale investment activities, which are to be financed by other programmes, will also be pursued.

Priority 3: Promoting ‘people to people’ exchanges [approximately 14% of total funding]
It is essential to develop actions in this third priority area in order to widen and deepen the level of engagement on the part of communities on both sides of the border within the framework of common actions. In view of this, the third priority sets out to do the following:
Support the development of civil society and local communities. Stronger social and cultural ties planned between communities in the border area and joint capacity-building actions undertaken in relation to civil society.
Improve local governance in relation to the provision of local services for communities in border areas. Joint local development plans and strategies- devised in specific areas, as well as training and capacity-building activities for local institutions and NGOs - in order to promote better local governance and service delivery.
Increase educational, cultural and sporting exchanges. Educational and cultural/sporting exchange programmes and joint educational/cultural/sporting activities to promote the dissemination of good practices from ‘centres of excellence’ out to less developed parts of the border region.
Enhance social and cultural integration in border areas. Capacity-building joint actions planned in relation to civil society organisations and local organisations.

Priority 4: Technical assistance [approximately 10% of total funding]
This priority provides support for programme management and implementation, including technical support, communications and publicity, research and evaluation and targeted capacity-building actions.

Financial and Technical information

'Romania-Serbia' IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

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
Economic and Social Development 18 002 843 3 176 972 21 179 815
Environment and Emergency Preparedness 9 361 478 1 652 026 11 013 504
Promoting ‘people to people’ exchanges 5 040 796 889 553 5 930 349
Technical Assistance 3 600 568 635 395 4 235 963
Total 36 005 685 6 353 946 42 359 631