Ex-post evaluation of 2007-2013 ENPI CBC programmes: “cross-border cooperation adds important territorial dimension to the European Neighbourhood Policy”

The European Commission has published the ex-post evaluation of the 2007-2013 ENPI CBC programmes. The aim of this report is to assess the performance of the first generation of the Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) programmes funded in the framework of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) 2007-2013, in order to draw lessons for the new generation of cross-border cooperation programmes, currently implemented under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) 2014-2020.

According to the report, "ENPI CBC resulted in an impressive number and variety of cross-border cooperation projects with a high participation from partner countries. Compared to the previous period, ENPI CBC brought a higher degree of cooperation between EU and partner countries, which contributed to the development of more genuine and sustainable partnerships. In that sense, the ENPI CBC added an important territorial dimension to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) extending the principles of territorial cooperation developed in the context of the EU Cohesion Policy to the external borders of the EU." One of the major outcomes highlighted by the report is "the strengthening of capacities of CBC stakeholders across the neighbourhood. There is at present a much more solid basis for cooperation compared to the previous period, with well-established programme authorities, more experienced beneficiaries and a high degree of trust and commitment among officials from EU and partner countries."

The evaluation was carried out on the basis of following criteria - effectiveness, efficiency, impact, sustainability, coherence and complementarity, EU value added, and lessons learned - through desk analysis, field visits and interviews with programme/project representatives. In addition to a series of recommendations to improve the performance of CBC programmes, the report also contains case studies that were carried out to understand how ENPI CBC contributed to solving identified cross-border issues in line with the programmes’ objectives and priorities.

Considerable level of participation in the programmes

Under the 2007-2013 period, 13 ENPI CBC programmes were implemented covering nine EU land borders, three sea basins and one sea crossing. The programmes involved 34 countries, 19 EU member states and 12 of the 16 ENP partner countries plus Norway, Russia and Turkey. The level of participation in the various programmes was considerable with a total of 941 projects contracted for a total EU funding of € 909.5m. Main topics addressed by the funded projects were economic development (38%) followed by environment (32%), social development (19%) and security (11%). In total, 4,569 organisations took part in ENPI CBC projects out of which 2,106 were from partner countries.

With almost 2,000 proposals submitted across the 3 calls for proposals, the ENPI CBC Med Programme registered the highest level of interest among the 13 programmes implemented.

According to the report, "Sea basin programmes enabled the establishment of international networks within which project partners could pursue more efficiently their own objectives and activities, building on the information, experience and knowledge from other countries. The cooperation facilitated the adoption of new approaches and practices in addressing local development issues and in fostering cooperation among regional/local authorities, socio-economic partners and the civil society."

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