INTERREG VІ-А IPA Bulgaria-Serbia 2021-2027 - Priorities

Eligible activities and beneficiaries by priority:

Priority (P)

Specific objectives

Budget (euro)

P1: A competitive border region

1.1 Enhancing the sustainable growth and competitiveness of SMEs and creating jobs in SMEs, including through productive investment

6 352 733


P2: Integrated development of the border region

2.1 Promoting integrated and inclusive social, economic and environmental local development, culture, natural heritage, sustainable tourism and security in non-urban areas

23 293 354

P3: A more resilient border region

3.1 Promoting climate change adaptation, disaster risk prevention and resilience, taking into account ecosystem approaches

8 470 311


Total budget

38 116 398


P1: A competitive border region


- Joint development and implementation of technological solutions aimed at regional socio-economic challenges, leading to financial and/or non-financial results obtained through cooperation;

- Technological and/or organizational investments aimed at reducing the costs of production/providing services and any other investments leading to an increase in the competitiveness of the enterprise, including, but not limited to, the purchase of specialized equipment and technologies (including related to increasing of qualification), monitoring systems; purchase of IT equipment, training and transfer of know-how, virtual business centers, e-commerce solutions, electronic payment capabilities, etc.; Actions aimed at increasing production capacity;

- Investments aimed at product/service quality management, including but not limited to product/service feature design improvements, after-sales customer service improvements, product warranty improvements, total quality management systems and any other aspect that determines the overall quality level of the product/service;

- Actions aimed at accessing new markets or market segments, including marketing research, spatial expansion technologies, cooperation between organizations and joint business schemes with other enterprises, company showrooms at the company site, etc.

- Marketing and advertising activities, participation in international fairs, exhibitions and other promotional events, consulting and information services, including electronic marketing, communication with customers, etc.


Target groups:

- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)


P2: Integrated development of the border region


- Actions aimed at widening the accessibility and improving the quality of services of general interest in support of social and economic growth - developing solutions that respond to changing needs through the adoption of new technologies (better value for money quality, faster delivery of services), societal challenges (eg population ageing, depopulation, silver economy, etc.) and financial constraints; development of solutions for diversifying the ways of organizing, providing and financing the services of general interest;

- Develop and provide framework support for local businesses to grow, expand and achieve better results in a greener and smarter global market – business support organizations from the region will collaborate to create a comprehensive joint business programme for business services and consulting services, designed to meet the needs of local MSMEs to grow and increase competitiveness in the regional and international market. The programme will focus on training and development, which will cover a wide range of topics (entrepreneurship, integration, resource efficiency, digitalization, internalization), along with a robust support plan for supervision and mentoring. This indirect support to local businesses will generate wider benefits for the programme area. Such benefits may include increased employment, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the region, as well as improved environmental conditions, improved innovation and better business survival rates. Support to enterprises under P2 will complement the direct support provided for under P1 as follows: The objective of P1 (direct support for SMEs) is to improve productivity and increase market shares through: 1) jointly developed technological solutions to enhance sustainable growth and 2) provision of production investments (acquisition of fixed capital and intangible assets). The aim of P2, with regard to SMEs, is to improve the knowledge and skills of enterprises (acquisition of knowledge capital) in different policy areas (eg integration in regional and international value chains) to address different territorial socio-economic challenges by providing indirect support (consultations, training, exchange of experience). In practice, the individual support of enterprises under priority 2, which will be developed in the form of business support programmes based on thoroughly researched needs and growth potential, will seek to achieve goals such as: increasing innovation and entrepreneurial capacity, moving to more digital and more ecological way of working, joining international value chains, business growth, etc.

- Actions aimed at rationalizing the use of the tourist resources of the cross-border region, incl. ensuring faster, fair and ecological access and conditions for connecting in a network of cultural heritage and tourist sites in the cross-border region - development of new integrated regional tourism products; restoration, preservation, presentation of objects of cultural heritage; support for natural tourist sites; creation of natural objects for economic use; investment in infrastructure and tourism support facilities; strengthening the connections between natural and cultural sites, including by improving the bicycle network, road infrastructure, border crossing infrastructure; training of staff at tourist attractions; improving marketing and branding practices in cross-border tourism;


Target groups:

- Civil society;

- Local/regional bodies, regional structures of central public bodies;

- Non-governmental organizations;

- Research and development, academic and training institutions;

- Social institutions;

- SMEs and their professional organizations.


P3: A more resilient border region

The investment will be in the form of a project of strategic importance related to preparing the population for disaster response and increasing the capacity of professionals to respond to emergency situations in the cross-border area.

During the previous and current programме periods, several projects have been implemented in the cross-border area, fighting natural risks and responding to specific needs in the area. So far, the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 programмеs have shown a lack of large-scale flagship projects that provide a comprehensive response to the challenges and needs in the area of ​​risk prevention and impact in the entire programme area.

A predetermined strategic project is related to preparing the population for disaster response and improving the capacity of professional teams and volunteers to respond to emergency situations, which will be aimed at achieving the best results of the past:

  1. Expanding the cross-border disaster response framework by adding more types of natural and man-made disasters;
  2. Increasing the regional disaster response capacity of the most affected - specialists, volunteers and the population along the borders.

The Serbian population will be trained in disaster response, with an emphasis on forest fires, while the Bulgarian cross-border population will be instructed in earthquake response, and the elderly will be informed about proper actions in the event of earthquakes, fires and other disasters.

Reducing the risk of natural disasters requires timely and well-coordinated measures. In this regard, together with the responsible institutions, the broad participation of the community, which is properly trained to deal with natural disasters, will increase the local response capacity and disaster resilience, while reducing the extent to which a natural hazard can have detrimental impact on economic development in the region.

Therefore, to enable professionals, volunteers, academics and stakeholders to contribute to natural disaster risk reduction, the following activities are proposed:

- Optimizing the educational process regarding the development and implementation of a disaster response framework aimed at strengthening the interaction between science and policy for a more robust knowledge base for decision-making;

- Actions aimed at strengthening institutional cooperation in the cross-border region by developing guidelines and strategic documents exchange of information, knowledge and skills; conducting joint on-site trainings, etc.;

- Development and implementation of a comprehensive programme for the preparedness of border communities for an adequate response to natural disasters, including on-site trainings, simulations, awareness campaigns, etc.;

- Small investments in public training infrastructure and investments in specialized equipment;

- Jointly develop protocols, procedures and approaches to prevent risk and manage rapid response to many potential emergency situations.


Target groups:

- National disaster management authorities in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia;

- Local protection and rescue teams from the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia;

- Voluntary fire brigades from the Republic of Serbia and the National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria;

- Local authorities;

- Children, students, seniors aged 60 and over, business representatives;

- General population of the cross-border region.



- Directorate General "Fire Safety and Protection of the Population" - Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of Bulgaria;

- Emergency Management Sector - Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of Serbia;

- Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of Bulgaria;

- National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria;

- Other competent institutions in this field.