EU to spend $1bn on development in border nations

7 Jan 16

The European Union is to spend €1bn on programmes to support social and economic development in regions on both sides of its external borders.


The funding will see a series of cross-border cooperation programmes work to reduce differences in living standards and address common challenges along its external borders, working in 27 countries including Georgia, Ukraine, Jordan, Israel and Palestine as well as EU member states located along borders.

“Cross-border cooperation plays a key role in avoiding the creation of new dividing lines,” said Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations.

“This new funding will further contribute to a more integrated and sustainable regional development in the neighbouring border regions and to a more harmonious territorial cooperation on the EU’s external borders.”

The European Commission said that it will prioritise projects supporting sustainable development along these borders. Countries participating in each of the projects have also selected up to four priorities, including SME development, culture, environment and climate change and border management. 

One example is the Clean River project between Romania and Ukraine – valued at €3.8m – which works to preserve the ecological value of the basin of Europe’s second longest river, the Danube, by enhancing cooperation in the prevention of man-made disasters.

The 27 countries which will see projects financed by the package are: Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia in the east; Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia in the Middle East and North Africa; and EU member states on the external border as well as Norway and Turkey.

The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Neighbourhood Instrument. Financing agreements will be finalised by the end of this year and grants will be awarded for proposals that are expected to launch before early 2017. 

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