ECOS OUVERTURE   1997-1999

External Inter-regional Co-operation Projects


External inter-regional co-operation, a component of innovative actions of the regional development programmes, became a reality when the Ecos-Ouverture programme provided a relevant official framework, structures, procedures and internal rules, for development of projects which involve public actors at decentralized level.

Ecos-Ouverture is currently the only action to encourage decentralized co-operation among local actors of the Union and Central and Eastern European countries. It provides a framework for the preparation of cities and regions of the applicant countries towards a successful integration at the time of the enlargement of the European Union.

The pilot projects contribute to the identification of regional economic development methods which enable the local actors to face up to their responsibilities within the framework of a broad partnership. External interregional co-operation makes it possible, through jointly implemented actions, to compare ideas, methods and practices.


The aims of the co-operation

  1. Co-operation between those involved at local level in different areas in order to facilitate an exchange of experiences either through the transfer of knowledge or through development of a shared project.
  2. Improved capacity for action and better methods of achieving economic and social development in the countries of central Europe, Mediterranean non-member countries and the less-favoured areas of the Union for those involved at local and regional level.
  3. Outstanding results in regional or local development which provide examples of how to respond to the challenges facing contemporary society and which can serve as pilot schemes for the spread of good practice in the region in question or in neighbouring regions.
  4. The strengthening of pre-accession strategies by familiarizing partners in the countries concerned, particularly in central Europe and the Mediterranean with the policies of the Union.

Funding for the programme comes through Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for European Union partners and the Phare programme for Central and Eastern European partners.