Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010
The inter-regional programme (IRP) forms p0art of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and aims at strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as well as dialogue and cooperation at regional level. It is addressed to countries covered by the ENP and Russia and concerns their relations with the European Union. It extends the field of Community instruments with proven effectiveness to the countries concerned by the priority action areas identified in the strategy paper for the period 2007-2013 and the indicative programme for the period 2007-2010.
European neighbourhood and partnership instrument - Inter-regional programme - Strategy paper 2007-2013, indicative programme 2007-2010 .
The inter-regional programme (IRP) supports the achievement of the objectives of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) and the strategic partnership with Russia. It focuses on dialogue and cooperation between the countries benefiting from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), and also between the latter and the European Union (EU).
Being part of the ENPI, the IRP provides financial support to activities whose inter-regional implementation has an added value in terms of visibility, coherence, efficiency and flexibility. It also promotes a more important role for governments, universities, towns and regions in order to ensure effective implementation and to boost the impact of initiatives and actions undertaken.
The strategy paper 2007-2013 and the indicative programme 2007-2010 identify the priority action areas of the IRP. They distinguish five priority areas for the period 2007-2010.
The promotion of reforms through EU advice and experience aims at supporting the reform process in ENPI beneficiary countries. On the basis of experience acquired during the transition process of the ten new Member States, this priority is based mainly on the following:
- the technical assistance and information exchange programme (TAIEX), which provides targeted advice and know-how, notably as regards convergence of legislation forming the Community acquis.
- support for the improvement of public institutions and management systems (SIGMA) launched by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Europe. Its objective is to facilitate economic integration and political cooperation with the EU.
Promotion of higher education and student mobility, is an area that is essential for the development of partner countries, mutual understanding between peoples and interpersonal contact. The Tempus programme constitutes a framework for reform of higher education and the promotion of cooperation between establishments. A scholarship scheme will be established in order to promote student and teacher mobility. The latter will be based on experience gained from the Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window programmes. A more important role will be assigned to partner countries as regards programme management.
Promotion of cooperation between local actors in partner countries and the EU is a fundamental objective of the ENP based on the exchange of experience and know-how. However, given the lack of structures, a cooperation programme will be set up first of all between local and regional authorities in order to strengthen democratic governance and sustainable regional and local development.
Promotion of the implementation of ENP and the Strategic Partnership with Russia concerns primarily their thematic policy areas, such as energy, environment and infrastructures. This programme supports information and dialogue activities in particular at inter-regional level in order to strengthen mutual understanding amongst opinion formers and citizens in partner countries.
The objective of promoting investment projects in ENP partner countries is to mobilise additional investments in order to support an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness involving the EU and its neighbours. These additional funds will make it possible to improve the infrastructures connecting the EU with neighbouring countries in the areas of transport and energy, to meet the common environmental challenges and to support socio-economic development in partner countries.
Funding for IRP for the period 2007-2010 amounts to 523.9 million, of which 40 million has been allocated to the first priority action area, 218.6 million to the second, 14.3 million to the third and 250 million to the fifth. The envelope for the fourth objective depends on the progress of the ENP and the partnership with Russia.
The indicative programme 2007-2010 gives an idea of the expected results for each priority, such as:
- the improvement in the legal and regulatory frameworks and their implementation;
- reform and modernisation of higher education in partner countries and better mutual understanding;
- a transparent selection process and greater visibility for mobility and scholarship schemes;
- strengthening of governance by local and regional authorities in partner countries and strengthening of links between them;
- effective action and information and dialogue activities at inter-regional level in order to create awareness of ENP action.
In order to measure their impact, partners define performance indicators at the time the programmes are being drawn up (number of partnerships, visibility, progress identified in the reports, national and thematic spread of actions, relevance of activities, etc.).