TacisIn 2003 Zakarpattya County Council together with Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg Regional Development Council (Hungary) initiated a TACIS CBC SPF project “Cooperation Bridge 2003″.

Hungarian accession to European Union has brought the threats for Ukrainian and Hungarian cross-border regions which can be withdrawn only by means of institutional development, experience exchange and cross-border cooperation development. Therefore, social, economic, cultural and even geographic proximity of the two regions made it possible to initiate such an important cross-border project.

The main objective of the project was to integrate the cross border regions of Ukraine and Hungary in geographical, social, economic and cultural sense, and to solve common development problems. The project was to assist local and regional authorities, NGOs and SME in certain cross-border projects implementation which aim to guarantee the sustainable development of border regions in accordance with the “Concept of Ukrainian and Hungarian cross-border regions development”.

As a part of project implementation a Ukrainian-Hungarian Regional Development Centre has been established. The Centre was established as a mirror of Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg regional development agency.

The official opening of the Ukrainian-hungarian regional development Centre took place in Uzhhorod on 18 May 2004.

The main tasks and objectives of the Centre are:

  • to maintain and develop cross-border cooperation between Ukraine and Hungary;
  • to take advantage of those positive tendencies and to solve the broblems which derive from Hungarian accession to European Union;
  • to assist the corresponding organizations in cross-border cooperation maitenance and development;
  • to initiate and elaborate common cross-border cooperation projects;
  • to assist in establishment of an efficient information circulation system.

One of the main tasks of the Centre was also to make the social-economic situation analysis of the two border regions, to study the needs in experts and different specialists, after which to undertake a series of seminars and workshops about cross-border cooperation.

In such a way the seminars with the representatives of local/regional authorities, NGOs and the SME have been launched in the two capitals of border regions – Uzhhorod (Ukraine) and Nyiregyhaza (Hungary). During the seminars and workshops the participants received the theoretical information and practical skills for the cross-border cooperation development, cross-border partnership network establishment and initiation of common cross-border projects.

As we have already mentioned, one of the basic tasks of the Centre is to participate in creation of the new generation of regional development experts by means of inviting foreign experts, organization of seminars and workshops for local/regional officials, experience exchange, publication of informational guidelines etc. And the seminars in Uzhhorod and Nyiregyhaza aimed exactly at reaching of this task.

After the theoretical part of the study course the participants were given the possibility to
obtain practical knowledge. Thus, the representatives of local/regional authorities, NGOs and the SME were invited to Germany for a 5-day study tour from 20 to 24 October 2004.

The European Academy Berlin was the receiving side from Germany. The seminars and presentations considered the german-polish cross-border cooperation. The participants closely studied the European financial assistance programmes INTERREG III+ and LEADER+. They got excelent information from the experienced experts who have already implemented a number of successful projects on german-polish border regions. The theoretical part was complemented by the practical trip to german-polish border crossing in Frankfurt (Oder) which has been established with European financial assistance. The participants also studied the projects which have been implemented in Luben town (Shpreewald, Germany).

The participants of this trip have obtained inestimable practical experience for tight cross-border cooperation establishment, cross-border partnership network creation and new cross-border projects implementation on the new border of European Union.

The participants were given Certificates on the final conference in Nyiregyhaza.