The Interreg-IPA "Bulgaria – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" cross-border Programme is adopted on 5th August 2015 by the Commission with Decision № C (2015) 5653 and focuses on measures aiming at mitigating the effects of climate change and at addressing issues related to the conservation of nature and biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources, environmental protection and risk management at cross-border level. A key focus of the programme is also put on the protection of the natural and cultural heritage sites in the region. Moreover, funding will help enhance the competitiveness of SMEs and facilitate their access to new markets.
The Interreg IPA CBC programme covers 2 border regions in Bulgaria and 3 regions from the Republic of North Macedonia. It is worth more than €19 million with a contribution of nearly €17 million from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).
Some of the expected results include:
- Improved capacity for environmental protection and sustainable use of joint natural resources for example by investing in green infrastructure as well as in training and capacity building activities for public authorities
- Improved capacity for joint reaction in case of fires, floods and other emergency situations by restoring river banks, zonal and regional/local planning adapted to the river basin and by implementing comprehensive fire protecting initiatives.
- Increased attractiveness for tourism through the restoration of heritage buildings and the maintenance of traditional landscapes.
- Enhanced cooperation and networking for sustainable tourism development
- Improved conditions for business development: a competitive local economy based on regional assets and with strong links to international markets by strengthening, for example, the capacities of an education system oriented to the market demands.
- Enhanced capacity of the public and private sector for business development by promoting entrepreneurship and cooperation for the exchange of new ideas, skills and technology and fostering the creation of new firms.
The following regions are involved in the Interreg IPA CBC Bulgaria - the Republic of North Macedonia programme:
- In Bulgaria: Districts of Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil.
- In the Republic of North Macedonia: North East, South East, and East regions
The programme focuses on the following three priorities:
- Sustainable tourism;
Total Budget of the cooperation programme: €19 461 690.
Total EU contribution (IPA – Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance): €16 542 434.
The programme is managed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of the Republic of Bulgaria.