Sofia, August 3, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
The European Commission has approved the 34 million euro Bulgaria-Serbia Cross-border Co-operation Programme for 2014 to 2020, which covers six border regions in Bulgaria and seven regions in Serbia, Bulgaria’s Regional Development Ministry said.
The program will finance projects in the field of sustainable tourism, youth and environment.
The regions located at the border between the two partner countries covered are Vidin(photo), Montana, Vratsa, Sofia, Pernik and Kyustendil in Bulgaria and the areas of Bor, Zajecar, Nisava,
Pirot, Jablanica and Pcinja in Serbia.
The first call for proposals will be published by mid-August 2015 and will include all the priority axes of the programme, from which sustainable tourism, youth and environment projects will be funded. The total budget for this first call amounts to more than 12.6 million euro.
Beneficiaries of the programme may be legal persons registered in the eligible area, as well as organisations that do not generate profits (including local, regional or national authorities, or subordinate structures, national and regional agencies, administrations of natural parks, local and regional forestry directorates, cultural institutions, community centres, governmental or non-profit organisations, educational institutions such as universities, schools, colleges and libraries.
The programme will be managed by Bulgaria’s Regional Development Ministry and Serbia’s Office for European Integration. The joint secretariat will be headquarted in Bulgarian capital city Sofia, with a branch in the Serbian town of Nis.
European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, who is in charge of the budget and human resources, said that this had been the second regional co-operation programme between Bulgaria and its neighbour that the Commission had endorsed within less than a month.
“Bulgaria will be able to work more actively with Serbia in tourism, heritage and environment protection. This amount of close to 60 million leva implies more investments and new jobs for regions neighboring on Serbia,” Georgieva said, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio.