Situated on the eastern borders of the European Union, the Republic of Moldova is a small country of 3.5 million euro inhabitants. This land has a long border of 680 km with Romania, Member State of the EU. Romania and the Republic of Moldova have a similar heritage and a common culture due to a shared history. The CBC programme which operates between these two countries is essential to support the initiatives taking place from the side of the citizens and the local and regional authorities. For most people in this area, the border is much more than an administrative line. It is a common space, where common solutions can be found to address different challenges.
Let’s look a bit closer at the characteristics of the cross-border region. Around 5,6 million inhabitants live in the area, out of which 37, 3 % reside in Romania, and 62, 7 % in the Republic of Moldova. This population is relatively young. Around 41 % is less than 30 years old. But part of these youngsters are leaving the region for a better education and to find an employment. The economic development of the area is rather low as compared to the neighbouring regions and countries. The economic activity is mainly based on agriculture. The cross-border analysis shows a weak level of investment in research and development, and a low accessibility of the region due to the poor quality of the transport infrastructure.
On the other hand, the cross-border region has great potentials. One can enjoy a beautiful landscape, sprinkled with historical landmarks, proof of the common past of the two countries. This high concentration of natural and historical sites is a great opportunity for the economy of the region. The access and the rehabilitation of these sites are key to the development of the area.
To confront with these elements, the CBC programme aims to enhance the economic development and to improve the quality of life of the people in the cross-border area. It supports joint investments in research and education, economic development, culture, cross-border infrastructure and health while ensuring the safety and security of the citizens in the two countries. The EU funding for the seven years period is of 81 million €, while the participating countries have to ensure a co-financing of at least 8.1 million €.
On 4 December 2018, the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) gathering Romanian and Moldovan authorities, met in Chisinau to discuss the implementation stage of the programme. First, the committee discussed the contracting stage of the four large infrastructure projects which had been approved on 14 November 2018. These large scale projects concern the improvement of communication infrastructure, as well as actions improving rapid responses to emergency situations and actions to better cooperate at the level of customs. Second, the programme authorities continued with the evaluation process of the calls for proposals launched in 2018 for HARD and SOFT projects. The calls were a real success and 241 applications were received. Projects supporting activities in the field of education, research and innovation, the promotion and preservation of heritage and the development of cross-border infrastructure and health services are now under evaluation. The evaluation process is planned to be finalised in the second half of 2019, and the contracting/implementation will start in the first semester of 2020.
2019 is certainly a crucial year for the Romania-Republic of Moldova Programme which will be at its cruise speed. One will not miss the opportunity to zoom at some of the projects which will be supported in this area of eastern Europe.
For more information on the Romania-Republic of Moldova Programme, please visit the website www.ro-md.net