By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Bulgaria’s cabinet has approved a series of cross-border co-operation programmes with Romania, Greece, Turkey, Serbia and FYRO Macedonia.
The programmes are to be submitted to the European Commission for approval, following a Cabinet decision on September 17.
The programmes are being carried out between 2014 and 2020, creating opportunities for the implementation of projects to develop cross-border regions and to promote partnerships between the countries involved, according to a Cabinet statement.
Bulgaria and Romania’s programme will operate in six priority areas, including on issues such as the environment. For this programme, the total budget is more than 258 million euro, of which more than 215 million euro will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The programme with Greece involves regions close to the border between the two countries, including Haskovo, Smolyan, Kurdjali and Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria and Evros, Xanthi, Rodopi, Drama, Kavalla, Thessaloniki and Serres in Greece. This programme, with five priority areas including promotion of competitiveness, improve cross-border connection and greater social inclusion, has a programme budget of more than 129 million euro, with more than 110 million euro coming from the ERDF.
The cross-border programmes with Turkey, Serbia and FYRO Macedonia respectively have budgets of 29 million euro, 34 million euro and 19 million euro.
The programme with Turkey involves issues such as environment and sustainable tourism, with Serbia matters such as the environment, youth and also sustainable tourism, and with FYRO Macedonia, environment, tourism, competitiveness and technical assistance.
Target groups and the main types of beneficiaries and the five programs are national, regional and local authorities, public and non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions and educational institutions, which is a prerequisite for improving the knowledge and utilization of best practice by the partners of Bulgaria for ongoing improvement of regional and local development policies, Bulgaria’s cabinet said.