The European Commission adopted Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 on September 9th, 2015, as the main priority is to increase competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and to assist them to expand outside of local markets. It amounts to 129 million euro, as the contribution of the European Union exceeds 110 million euro from the European Fund for Regional Development.

When adopting the Programme, the commissioner on regional policy Corina Cretu has said:

This Programme will aid the border areas of Greece and Bulgaria to work together and tackle common challenges. This Programme is obviously oriented towards results and will make real change on site, transport infrastructure to new job opportunities.”

The Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 is focused on the following four priorities:

  1. Competitive and innovative cross-border area.
  2. Sustainable and adaptive to the climate cross-border area.
  3. Better interconnected cross-border area.
  4. Cross-border area with social inclusion.

The Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 also aims:

– improvement of cross-border cooperation for better protection of the local population from the risk of floods;

– development and popularizing the cultural and natural heritage of the border area;

– improvement of management of water recourses and crossborder connectivity (meaning decreasing the amount of time for commuting, improving the safety of travel);

– expanding the social entrepreneurship in the border area that leads to increase of employment in social enterprises and increase in the offering of social services of vulnerable communities;

The 11 regions participating in the Programme are:

– from Greece: Regions (NUTS III) на Evros, Xsanti, Rhodopes, Drama, Kavala, Thessaloniki and Seres.

– from Bulgaria: Regions (NUTS III) Blagoevgrad, Haskovo, Smolyan and Kardzhali.

The common budget of the Programme is 129,695,572.00 EUR, and the total contribution of the EU is 110.241.234,00 EUR from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).