The European Commission adopted the new Interreg-IPA cross-border program, worth EUR 88 million, with a contribution of almost EUR 75 million from the Instrument for the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), according to officials.
The program is aimed at protecting the environment in the border regions of Romania and Serbia and covers the area in central European Danube macro-region. The Danube Basin spans more than half of the border between the two countries.
The program will focus on the development of effective and environmental friendly cross-border transport infrastructure. In addition, it will provide employment opportunities for locals, will improve patient care and increase access to tertiary education.
“Over 2 million people living in the region will benefit from these projects, which will contribute to reaching the objectives of the Strategy for the European Danube Region. Our cross-border programs provide concrete measures to improve quality of life in border regions of the EU and their vicinity. These programs provide an opportunity for regions to find common solutions to common challenges,” said European commissioner for regional policy, Corina Cretu.
The Interreg-IPA Programme for cross-border collaboration between Serbia and Romania covers 3 border regions in Romania (Timis, Caras-Severin and Mehedinti) and 6 regions in Serbia (Severnobanatski districts, Srednjebanatski, Južnobanatski, Braničevski, Borski and Podunavski).
Some of the expected impacts include:
- – Improving access to the labour market;
- – Improved healthcare and social services;
- – The establishment of cross-border networks of higher education centres;
- – Capacity development of local institutions to protect natural resources;
- – Better preparedness for emergencies (related to mining and industrial activities, air pollution or flooding);
- – Integrating local transport infrastructure and services in the main European transport corridors, especially waterways connected to the Danube corridor;
- – Improved services for commuters crossing.
The program is managed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration in Romania. The total budget of the cooperation program is: EUR 88,124,996, with a total contribution from the EU (IPA) of EUR 74,906,248.
The IPA provides technical and financial assistance to support the reform process in the acceding countries. IPA funds develop the capacity of those countries. For the period 2014-2020, the Interreg-IPA has a budget of around EUR 4.84 billion to be invested in 12 programs of cross-border cooperation between regions and territorial partners, social and economic.