Common Borders, Common Solutions: The Romanian-Bulgarian cross-border regional cooperation

The EU provides funding for a broad range of projects and programmes covering areas such as: regional & urban development, employment & social inclusion, rural development, fisheries policies, research & innovation, humanitarian aid.

The Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border (RBCB) Cooperation Programme supports the development of eligible border areas, both in Romania and Bulgaria for over 14 years. These programmes aim to create a “bridge” between the two countries in order to support the border regions. One of the main purposes is to solve similar development problems by collaborating and promoting common solutions. Thus, the border will unite the regions on both sides of the Danube, instead of separating them.

A practical example of how EU-funded programmes support regional development is the Cross-Border Cooperation Regional Office Calarasi (CBC RO Calarasi) – an establishment which fosters interregional, internal and international cross-border cooperation. One of their main tasks is to promote cooperation between the regions, communities and authorities located on both sides of the Romania-Bulgaria borders in solving common problems by designing and implementing cross-border strategies and projects that contribute to the development of these communities in terms of living standards and economic development. CBC RO Calarasi has been offering technical assistance for CBC Programmes since 2006, being the intermediate body between the Managing Authority and the project Beneficiaries and currently is Joint Secretariat for Interreg V-A Romania-Bulgaria Programme.

EURACTIV organised this high-level workshop to discuss the achievements and impacts of the Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Programme. Questions included:

  • What impact does cross-border co-operation have in terms of innovation or enhanced administrative capacity?
  • How should this kind of programmes be managed to ensure a high absorption of the funds?
  • What is the impact of such a programme and what lessons can be drawn from its implementation?
  • To what extent has co-operation been enhanced? What barriers have been removed?

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