EU earmarked €12,5 mln to boost territorial co-operation within the Eastern Partnership initiative.
The cooperation will be built upon the experience of the EU’s cohesion policy, in which the European Union encourages its member states to work together and learn from each other through joint programmes, projects and networks. Such a policy, inter alia, paves the way for addressing common challenges member states are facing, boosts mobility and facilitates people-to-people contacts, improving living conditions of people on both sides of a border.
In this regard, the Eastern Partnership Territorial Co-operation programme (EaPTC) is expected to become one of the building blocks which will provide the basis for strong cross-border and territorial co-operation of the countries involved. Moreover, since three out of six programme’s participating counties – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – have signed their association agreements with the EU, the programme’s launch conference, which took place on July 4th in Tbilisi, laid a solid basis for a new level of co-operation between EaP members.
“The EaP conference on territorial co-operation takes place in the new political context,” Mariam Rakviashvili, Georgia’s Deputy State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, says. She expects this programme will play a positive role in further development of territorial co-operation of the countries involved.
In order to bear fruit, however, the programme should build on the experience of previous EU’s regional initiatives, Rakviashvili says.
Although it is for the first time that the EU-backed progamme does not envisage the engagement of the EU member state, it will, nevertheless, follow the best European practices. “The programme’s nature and principles are quite similar to those the EU is committed to in its regional policies,” Oleksiy Sekarev, EaPTC programme Team Leader, says.
And Ukraine is well-experienced in participating in different programmes of regional and territorial co-operation, Oksana Reiter, a representative of the EU Directorate of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, assures. “We are co-operating within the regional initiatives with Poland, Belarus, the countries of Black Sea basin, just to name a few,” she says. Also Ukraine is actively participating in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, Reiter adds.
Moreover, cross-border co-operation is one of the integral parts of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. Therefore by participating in this programme, Ukraine contributes to the implementation of recently signed deal, Reiter says.
The launching conference on Eastern Partnership Territorial Co-operation programme was held on 4th July in Tbilisi. For the fist time the representatives of central and regional authorities, civil society organizations and independent experts from six Eastern Partnership countries gathered together to give start to the territorial co-operation grant programme. The event provided an opportunity to have a comprehensive look at the programme’s objectives and perspectives, as well as discuss possible challenges the participants may face.
The main objective of the EaPTC is to create favorable environment for territorial co-operation programmes along the borders of Armenia-Georgia, Azerbaijan-Georgia, Belarus-Ukraine and Moldova-Ukraine with due regard to specifics of each border area. The programme is also aimed at enhancing the capacity of local and regional state and non-state actors to jointly develop and implement cross-border projects.
From Ukrainian side, the following regions are taking part in the programme: Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Vinnytsia and Odesa.
From now on border regions may enjoy an opportunity to get EU funds for joint projects. The budget of the EaPTC is €12,5 million; it is split among four programmes as follows: Armenia-Georgia €1,35 million, Azerbaijan-Georgia €1,35 million, Belarus-Ukraine €3,3 million, Moldova-Ukraine €3,3 million.
More information: http://www.eaptc.eu/
For more details, please, contact: Tetiana Derevyankina, EaPTC Programme Communication Expert, Tatiana.firstname.lastname@example.org