Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

ECOS-OUVERTURE - call for proposals for inter-regional cooperation

The European Commission, DG XVI, has published a call for proposals for projects under the ECOS-OUVERTURE initiative for inter-regional cooperation with areas outside the European Union. The call is intended for local authorities in the eligible regions (the EU, Central and Eastern Europe, the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, and the Mediterranean partner countries) to submit cooperative projects.

In the period 1997 to 1999, a total of ECU 17 million will be made available from the European Regional Development Fund and ECU 7 million from the PHARE programme for technical assistance to the Central and Eastern European countries. ECOS-OUVERTURE has run since 1991, since when a total of 350 projects have been financed, involving 1,250 local and regional authorities.

Five fields of action have been selected for this call:

- Improving the working methods of local or regional authorities through the establishment of local or regional development strategies and urban and regional services;
- Improving access to the European market for small businesses in the areas concerned, particularly through appropriate techniques for cooperation between firms, and improving the supply of services to small businesses which encourage them to innovate while developing the role of local administrations;
- Developing specific local potential, particularly for the creation of permanent jobs;
- Establishing and developing resource centres to promote equal opportunities in economic life;
- Preserving and improving the environment with a view to sustainable development, by promoting renewable sources of energy and energy saving.

The lead partner should be a local or regional authority from an EU Member State, or from a Central and Eastern European country. Other partners may be local or regional authorities, development agencies or chambers of commerce. Projects should cover between three and seven different areas in at least two Member States and at least one partner country. Of these areas, at least half of the Community areas should be eligible under Objectives 1, 2, 5B or 6 of the Structural Funds.

Two types of project may be supported:

- Major projects, involving cooperation between the EU and partner countries. Funded up to a maximum of ECU 800,000, between the ERDF and PHARE;
- Micro-projects, financed by PHARE up to a maximum of ECU 50,000, intended to support projects in Central and Eastern European countries which have not previously participated in similar projects.

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