CENTRAL EUROPE is a European Union programme that encourages cooperation among the countries of central Europe to improve innovation, accessibility and the environment and to enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of their cities and regions.
CENTRAL EUROPE invests €231 million to provide funding to transnational cooperation projects involving public and private organisations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and runs from 2007 to 2013.
The CENTRAL EUROPE programme focuses on four priorities:
Priority 1: Facilitating innovation across Central Europe
Innovation is a key driver for strengthening Central Europe's competitiveness and it is a top policy priority for the European Union. CENTRAL EUROPE has, therefore, made it a programme priority to promote innovation and knowledge management and reach out to new stakeholders in the fields of innovation and economic development.
Projects under this priority aim at improving the climate for innovation in all regions and enabling them to make better use of their innovation potential. They create favourable framework conditions for innovation and build up capabilities for the effective transfer and application of innovation. They also foster knowledge development and help people to obtain the qualifications they need for the knowledge-based economy.
Priority 2: Improving accessibility to, and within, Central Europe
Accessibility is a precondition for jobs and growth and a key factor for economic development and the reduction of disparities in the programme area. It facilitates the movement of people, goods and information, increases efficiency and improves the development prospects for the regions.
Projects under this priority aim at improving accessibility, a precondition for economic development and a key factor for reducing disparities in the programme area. They promote information and communication technology-based solutions, as well as non-technological alternative solutions for enhancing access. They also foster interconnectivity and inter-modality for higher efficiency and reduced volumes of transport across the CENTRAL EUROPE cooperation area.
Priority 3: Using our environment responsibly
Protecting the Central European environment now and for future generations is one of the pre-conditions for sustainable growth. This is particularly relevant for Central Europe where an economic catching-up process is taking place, creating both new opportunities as well as threats for the environment.
Projects under this priority aim at more responsible use and better preservation of Central Europe's environment. They manage and protect natural resources, support the use of environmentally friendly technologies and reduce the risks and impacts of natural and man-made hazards. They also support the use of renewable energy and increase energy efficiency.
Priority 4: Enhancing competitiveness
The programme is managed by a structure comprising institutions at the European, national and regional levels. Main decision-making body is the 'Monitoring Committee', which is composed of representatives of the Member States of the programme.
Composed of representatives of the Member States of the programme, the Monitoring Committee supervises and ensures the quality and effectiveness of programme implementation and approves projects for funding.
The Managing Authority is responsible for sound programme management and implementation in accordance with EU regulations.
The Certifying Authority certifies that expenditures comply with European and national rules, and it is responsible for ERDF payments to project Lead Partners.
The Audit Authority ensures that project audits are carried out according to internationally accepted audit standards to verify the expenditures declared.
Joint Technical Secretariat
The Joint Technical Secretariat) assists the Managing Authority, the Monitoring Committee and, where appropriate, the Audit Authority in programme management and programme promotion. It provides guidance to project partners and applicants, ensures sound project management and is responsible for the monitoring of project performance.
Network of Contact Points
Coordinated by the JTS, Contact Point in the Member States of the programme aim to complement the activities of the JTS by promoting the programme and providing applicants with first information and advice, and by contributing to the dissemination of results achieved.