Interreg–IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Hungary–Serbia (Interreg-IPA CBC Hungary- Serbia) is an initiative within the 2014-2020 European Union financial framework, under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).
The Programme was approved by the European Commission by its decision C(2015) 9488 on December 15, 2015. It relies on the Regulation (EC) No 231/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 447/2014 (IPA II Implementing Regulation).
On the basis of “shared management system" of the participating countries – Hungary and Serbia, the Programme funds and supports co-operation projects of non-profit organizations located in the Programme-eligible area, including Hungarian NUTS III level counties Csongrád and Bács-Kiskun, and Serbian NUTS III equivalent regions: West Bačka, North Bačka, South Bačka, North Banat, Central Banat, South Banat and Srem.
Interreg-IPA CBC Hungary-Serbia is the fourth generation of the cross-border cooperation programmes in the Hungary-Serbia border region. Operating under the slogan “Good Neighbours Creating Common Future”, the Programme supports the development of a stable and co-operating region and the overall quality of life in the border region. It enables economic collaboration of organizations from the two countries, nurtures the common identity, and cultural and historical heritage of the border region, and contributes to its environmental sustainability and safety. As such, Interreg–IPA CBC Hungary–Serbia may be perceived as a progression of the previous Hungary-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation programme, implemented within the 2007-2013 EU financial framework.
Detailed information about the Hungary-Serbia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme is available on the programme’s website.
The overview of the features of the 2007-2013 programme and description of the implemented projects within the programme is available within the publication the Project Catalogue. Additionally, examples of successfully implemented projects and good cooperation were presented in the publication the Examples of Good Cooperation.
Understanding the Programme’s Name
Interreg, also known as the European Territorial Cooperation, is the EU policy encouraging the EU regions to work together and learn from one another through joint programmes, projects and networks aimed at reducing disparities between regions, reinforcing cohesion and supporting optimal economic development by addressing issues of daily life, such as transport, education, energy, healthcare and environmental protection.
Interreg applies three EU policy instruments:
- European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – supporting cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation programmes involving Member states;
- Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) – supporting cooperation between the EU regions and countries and pre-accession countries;
- European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) – supporting cooperation between EU regions and regions of EU external neighbours.
IPA – Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance is an EU policy instrument supporting cooperation between the EU regions and countries – Hungary in this case and pre-accession countries – Serbia in this case. IPA addresses five policy areas:
- Reforms in preparation for Union membership and related institution-and capacity-building;
- Socio-economic and regional development;
- Employment, social policies, education, promotion of gender equality, and human resources development;
- Agriculture and rural development;
- Regional and territorial cooperation.
EU candidate countries, including Serbia, are eligible for all five components of IPA.
Cross-border Cooperation (CBC) component has the objective of promoting good neighbourly relations, fostering stability, security and prosperity in the mutual interest of the two partnering countries, and of encouraging their harmonic, balanced and sustainable development.
Hungary – Serbia border region – the Programme area covers the following counties (administratively referred to as NUTS III level or equivalent) in the Hungary-Serbia border region: Csongrád and Bács-Kiskun counties in Hungary, West Bačka, North Bačka, South Bačka, North Banat, Central Banat, South Banat and Srem districts in Serbia. Detailed analysis of the Programme area is available in the Cooperation Programme.
Important features of the Programme
The Lead Beneficiary principle
The Lead Beneficiary principle is a basic requirement in all operations financed from the Programme. The project is represented by the Lead Beneficiary, acting as the only direct contact between the project and the joint management bodies of the Programme. It is the responsibility of the Lead Beneficiary to create a well working consortium among the project partners based on a partnership agreement.
In order to have joint projects with real cross-border effect, projects partners from both sides of the border must be involved. Projects have to be planned and implemented according to the joint cooperation criteria: joint planning, joint staffing, joint financing and joint implementation of projects. Project results should have impact on both sides of the border.
The public procurement in the whole area of the cross-border Programme, both on Hungarian and Serbian territory will be carried out according to the contract procedures for the EU external actions.