Programme Territorial Cooperation

Cross border cooperation policy is about establishing links across national boundaries to enable joint approach to common problems and opportunities. The Operational Programme between Greece and Bulgaria constitutes actually a set of proposals for the interventions envisaged under the terms of the cross border cooperation strand of the European Territorial Cooperation objective of the Structural Fund policies for the period 2007-2013.

The new Programme, as the successor to the INTERREG III A programme that operated between the two countries until the end of 2006, will attempt to capitalize on the experience gained and the extensive knowledge that has been obtained by both the participants and the implementation structures, in order to bring cooperation to a new level. The overall strategic objective of the Programme is to strengthen the competitiveness and territorial cohesion in the programme area towards sustainable development, by linking potential partners from both sides of the border.

Within the framework of achieving and serving the overall objective, a series of strategic objectives have also been developed, which constitute the policy outline for the convergence in the area of intervention. Specifically these objectives are:

A. Strengthening the Attractiveness of the Area by Upgrading the Quality of Life & Improving Accessibility Structures

B. Enhancing Competitiveness by promoting entrepreneurship, establishing networks of cooperation and investing in human resources

These two strategic objectives are expressed as three priority axes (plus the technical support axis), along with a certain number of specific objectives. Specifically:

Priority Axis 1: Quality of Life – Upgrading and Management of Environmental & Cultural Assets, Health & Social Issues for the improvement of Quality of Life in the cross-border area and the welfare of its residents.

Priority Axis 2: Accessibility – Improving the transport and communication networks and ensuring an easy and safe circulation of goods, services and people in the cross-border area.

Priority Axis 3: Competitiveness & Human Resources - Stimulating entrepreneurship, investing in human capital and promoting research and innovation so as to increase competitiveness and improve the economic and social development of the cross-border area.

Priority Axis 4: Technical Assistance – Aiming at supporting the overall management and smooth implementation of the Programme.

The main objectives by Priority Axis include:

Priority Axis 1

  • To protect and promote the rich and diverse natural resources of the area as a vehicle for balanced and economic development
  • To promote joint risk management in the fields of water management, waste management and risk management against natural and anthropogenic disasters
  • To promote and protect cultural assets and create cultural cooperation in the cross-border area
  • To establish cooperation in health and social protection issues

Priority Axis 2

  • To improve the road and railway networks as a means of social and economic development of the cross-border area
  • To improve the mobility of goods, services and people in the crossborder area
  • To coordinate infrastructure initiatives at the cross-border area so as to boost its economic activity and ensure balanced spatial development.

Priority Axis 3

  • To use the restructuring of the economy as an opportunity for economic and spatial sustainable development
  • To invest on human capital as one of the most valuable resources of the cross-border area for promoting economic activities
  • To stimulate entrepreneurship and integrate ICT and new technologies to all economic sectors as a vehicle for economic and social cohesion
  • To network research and economic activities so as to integrate innovation in the productive sectors of the economy
  • To foresee proactive initiatives in view of the forthcoming open labour market in the cross-border area