Cohesion policy of EU

The Cohesion Policy is related to the European Union’s solidarity policy framework. It embodies the EU’s strategy to promote the “overall harmonious development” of its Member States and regions.

The aim of EU Cohesion Policy is to support and accelerate economic and social cohesion, which is enshrined in the Single Community Act of 1986 and which aims to “reduce disparities between regions and the lag behind the most disadvantaged of them”. Cohesion policy focuses on key areas whose strengthening and growth will help the European Union meet the challenges of the 21st century and remain globally competitive.

To implement this policy, the European Union allocates a large resource allocated in the form of various financial instruments, incl.:

European fund for regional development

It invests in the growth and enhancing the competitiveness of individual regions and promising sectors. The Fund supports cross-border cooperation initiatives.

European social fund

It invests in people to improve employment and education opportunities by providing support to disadvantaged people at risk of poverty or social exclusion,

Cohesion fund of the E

It invests in people and to improve opportunities for green growth and sustainable development and to improve relations in Member States whose GDP is below 90% of the EU - 28 average.

Cohesion policy for the period 2021-2027 and its “modernization” was subject of extensive discussions and long-term planning. As a result, important reforms have been introduced in terms of the focus of investment priorities, the criteria for allocating funds, the administrative burden of implementation and many others. A much more structured and clear view of the priority objectives was also adopted:

1. A more competitive and smarter Europe (through innovation, digitalization, economic change);
2. A greener, low carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy;
3. A more connected Europe by enhancing mobility;
4. A more social and inclusive Europe;
5. Europe closer to citizens

European Territorial Cooperation

European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is the Cohesion policy`s tool The ETC is designed to: (a) address problems that transcend national borders and require a common solution, and (b) work together to develop the potential of different territories.It provides a framework for the implementation of joint initiatives and policy exchange between national, regional and local authorities in our various countries – members.For its implementation “the Union develops and implements its own initiatives that lead to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion”, included and funded through interregional and cross-border cooperation programs (so-called ” INTERREG “).

Currently (after the reforms of Cohesion Policy in 2020), INTERREG is building around three areas of cooperation:


Cross-Border Cooperation​

These programmes aim to bring together regions or local authorities having a common land border in order to develop the border areas, exploit their untapped growth potential and tackle jointly identified common challenges.

72,2% of all funds

Transnational and maritime cooperationeration​

These programmes support the cooperation through  actions that promote integrated territorial development between national, regional and local entities in larger transnational and around sea-basins territories.

18.2 % of all funds


Interregional cooperation

These programmes aim to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy on the basis of actions that promote exchanges of experience between regions on issues such as design and implementation of programmes, sustainable urban development.
6.1 % of all funds

Therefore, the Cohesion policy boosts-up the development of the regions on several levels: national and international.  

On first place, it ensures solid financial support for the development of the strengths (priorities) and for overcoming the weaknesses (problems) of a country. Moreover, it directs funds towards finding a common direction for growth or solving problems of individual regions in the country through joint inter- national and regional cooperation.  

The realization of national aims is being implemented through the operational programmes, while the regional – through the INTERREG programmes. 

Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program

The Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program directs funds and efforts towards two of the less developed regions of the EU with many territorial challnges, but also with a high concentration of local resources and respectvely – growth potential. 

The Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program aims to develop the border area between the two partner countries by helping to address common challenges, jointly exploiting untapped growth potential, while improving the cooperation process for the harmonious development of the Union.

The target region of the program consists of 7 counties from Romania(Mehedintsi, Dolj, Olt, Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi, Constanta) and 8 districts in Bulgaria (Vidin, Vratsa, Montana, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Silistra, Dobrich). 

The Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program has been operating successfully in this format since 2007. It generates tangible progress in the development of the region in many of the problem areas by successfully investing in the field of public works, environmental protection, qualification and integration of human resources, increasing the capacity for cooperation and exchange of experience between public and civil society organizations. In the following programming period 2021 – 2027 INTERREG VI-A Romania – Bulgaria will work with the following priorities:

  1. A better connected region that supports activities for:
    • Improving the connectivity and mobility of the Danube river;
    • Improving the conditions for navigation and safety on the Danube river;
  2. An integrated region that focuses on actions for:
    • Establishment of the “Eurovelo 6” bicycle route;
    • Supporting the tourism activities, related sectors and industries as a means of economic diversification and job creation in the program area
    • Ensuring that economic activities are sustainable and do not cause additional damage to the environment
    • Providing the necessary workforce, through qualification in the tourism or related sectors
    • Using urban centers as engines of growth and promoting urban-rural relations, with an emphasis on economic diversification and job creation

More about the Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program`s

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RoBulUs stands for Tools for Enhancing Youth Engagement in Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation. It is an initiative that supports youth in becoming more aware and involved in decision making processes. 

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