Cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries:
is EU support effective?

  • Publication on 12 December at 5 p.m. CET
  • One-on-one interviews available on request

On Monday 12 December, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on how effective EU programmes have been in enhancing territorial cooperation across its external borders.




Cross-border cooperation is a key element of the EU’s neighbourhood policy, which covers 16 countries along the EU’s external border. For the 2014-2020 period, the European Commission set up 15 programmes with a total value of almost €1 billion. While most EU funding programmes supporting cooperation with Russia were suspended in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, cross-border cooperation programmes remained in place until early March 2022, when the EU suspended its financing agreements with Russia and Belarus in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.



EU auditors assessed the largest 2014-2020 programmes in the north, east and south regions: South-East Finland–Russia, Poland–Belarus–Ukraine, and Mediterranean Sea Basin. These three programmes together accounted for about 44 % of the total funding planned for the 2014-2020 period. The audit was conducted at a time when the projects were approaching the end of their implementation periods. The report will serve to inform the set-up of the programmes proposed for the 2021-2027 financing period.


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