Cross-Border Cooperation

Source: European Commission - DG NEAR

Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) is a key element of the EU policy towards its neighbours. It supports sustainable development along the EU’s external borders, helps reducing differences in living standards and addressing common challenges across these borders. It was first recognised as such in the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) Regulation for the period 2007-2013. This was confirmed for the period 2014-2020 in the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) Regulation adopted in March 2014.

CBC promotes cooperation between an EU country and a neighbourhood country sharing a land border or sea crossing. Funding can also be provided for a programme between several EU and neighbourhood countries which, for example, are part of the same sea basin.

CBC is modelled on the principles of the EU’s territorial cooperation, but adapted to the specificities of the EU's external relations. What characterises the CBC programmes and makes them a unique cooperation mechanism is a strong commitment and ownership by the participating countries based on:

• balanced partnership between the participating countries on either side of a border: Member States and Neighbouring countries have an equal say in the programme decisions and projects only receive funding if implemented by partners on both sides;
• management entrusted to a local - or national - authority in a member state, jointly selected by all countries participating in the programme;
• common legal framework and implementation rules: For the future ENI period, rules established for the ENPI CBC have been simplified and adapted based on previous experience. 

CBC has three main objectives:

• promoting economic and social development in border areas;
• addressing common challenges (environment, public health, safety and security);
• putting in place better conditions for persons, goods and capital mobility.


A budget of €1 billion made of contributions from the European Regional Development Fund and the ENI budget has been earmarked for CBC for the period 2014-2020.


The drafting of programmes has started and regional and local partners on both sides of a border regularly meet to identify on the programme needs and objectives such as fields of intervention, managing structures etc.