Because neighbours ...

Neighbourhood external cooperation programmes


Borders may be obstacles, but also opportunities. Borders may separate, but they can also connect. The external borders across the European Union are an inspiration for people to work together and make the territories on both sides greener, more prosperous, more connected, and more inclusive. The cooperation across the EU external borders aims at improving the living conditions of regional communities, by finding common solutions to common challenges.


  • 23 Member States and Partner Countries
  • 7 Interreg NEXT programmes
  • EUR 735 million EU funds (current allocation)
  • Over 2.000 km of 5 land borders
  • 2 sea basins
  • 1 sea crossing
Discover the Interreg NEXT programmes

Fresh from the field

Balancing reiteration and innovation: one year in review

How to deal with the unexpected illustrates the diversity of human nature. Some of us would rather be prepared in advance and recognise it when it happens, while others prefer to be taken by surprise and enjoy navigating through it. After eight years supporting the neighbourhood territorial cooperation community, deep in TESIM hearts we expected our mandate to be continued as from 1 April 2023. One year later, can we conclude that everything that has happened since then was fully predictable?

The closure templates presented to 90 programme representatives

The meeting on closure organised by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and TESIM on 29 May 2024 marked a significant milestone in the closure process of the ENI Cross-Border Cooperation (ENI CBC) programmes for the 2014-2020 period. It gathered more than 90 programme representatives who learned about the templates for the final programme report and had the opportunity to receive answers to their questions submitted prior to the meeting, as well as those raised during the meeting.

Inside laboratories, turning crab shells into food additives

When research and innovation transform sources of pollution into sustainable opportunities! ARIBiotech, funded by the ENI CBC Italy-Tunisia programme, is converting seafood waste and dredging sediments into organic packaging and dietary supplements. But where does this begin? Fish processing industries generate significant waste — heads, tails, fins, scales, bones, etc. — making up to 60% of the fish’s weight. This waste is often discarded at sea, harming ecosystems and harbours. Research shows we can reduce these negative impacts by choosing better dumping sites, finding alternative disposal methods, or turning waste into useful products. ARIBiotech chose the latter by asking themselves: How can we turn marine waste into usable products and how can entrepreneurs benefit from such scientific findings to boost the region’s economy?

One week to build project development skills

External border regions hungry for cooperation; potential project applicants from Partner Countries are impatient to know more, to learn, to understand. TESIM’s first four Capacity Building Weeks have come to an end, but given the high number of requests for participation that could not be met, more are planned for the near future.  The sign comes straight from the regions: territorial cooperation is seen as a great way to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas, with the view to achieving a higher degree of territorial integration.

Latvia: transforming handicrafts from hobby to source of income

LATVIA – Latgale, the easternmost region of Latvia, is known for its rich cultural heritage and the vibrancy of crafts tradition. Trades such as pottery, woodworking, stone-cutting, knitting, and weaving continue to flourish here alongside the new forms of craftsmanship, like glass decor, porcelain, production of cosmetic products, demonstrating the evolution of traditions in response to contemporary influences and market demands. The region, sharing borders with Russia and Belarus, has developed these trades through generations, making it an integral part of its cultural identity. Crafts in Latgale are not only a way of preserving traditional customs but also a means of fostering community engagement and socio-economic activity, contributing significantly to local development.

What to do with all that waste? From grapes to beauty products

TUNISIA – Grapes, the jewels of the vineyards, yield at global level approximately 74 million tons of wine each year. Yet, alongside the production of wine comes a significant by-product: pomace — a mix of peels, seeds, and stems. Typically, this pomace meets one of two fates: animal feed or open-air fertilizer at best. However, recent research reveals a hidden treasure trove within this waste. Bursting with bioactive substances like antioxidants, pomace possesses benefits ranging from anti-aging to anti-cancer properties. The ENI CBC BESTMEDGRAPE project, spanning the Mediterranean from north to south, capitalizes on this untapped resource, blending knowledge, tradition, and innovation to empower both the grape sector and creative entrepreneurs.

Towards a circular economy in the South

How can waste reprocessing favour a circular economy and a sustainable future? Environmental considerations are at the forefront of Interreg NEXT priorities: regulations ask all programmes to devote 30% of the budget to contribute to climate targets. But making use of waste to promote a green, circular economy was also high on the agenda of ENI CBC: at the end of the programming cycle, it turns out that research was key to waste reconditioning, and it has favoured innovative solutions which are now opening market opportunities and boosting employment. The idea of a system where materials never become waste, is gaining space.

How to change cooperation after 2027?

«Is living next to a border an opportunity or a disadvantage?», «What would be the cooperation project of your dreams?» These are some of the questions that citizens and organisations involved in cooperation across EU’s external borders will be invited to answer in the coming months. In preparing for the post-2027 Interreg programmes, the European Commission has launched a twofold consultation process, to gather suggestions as to what shape Interreg should take in the next programming cycle.

Ukraine, the solidarity continues on the way to accession

It was February 24, 2022, and suddenly everything changed. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression to Ukraine, ENI CBC programmes multiplied their efforts to sustain in a way or another the tens of thousands of refugees and displaced people flooding the country and its neighbours. Projects’ efforts were not spared to feed, host, care for a population on the run. Different structures were converted into shelters, training or health centres opened the doors to fleeing families. At the same time, ENI CBC managing structures were struggling to keep afloat the on-going projects.

Next Programmes

Seven Interreg NEXT (Neighbourhood External) programmes have been approved in 2022, for a (current) envelope of 735 million EUR. Five of them involve Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, highlighting the key role of the Eastern partners in facing the consequences of the Russian aggression. Cooperation in the South remains also a priority for the Union.

ENI CBC Programmes

A total of 16 programmes will be implemented under ENI CBC. They cover 12 land borders, one sea crossing and three sea basins, stretching from Finland and Russia in the north, to countries like Hungary and the Ukraine in the east, and Italy, Northern Africa and the Middle East in the south.
Here you will find news and information on each programme, including the programme strategy and participating countries.

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ENI CBC/Interreg NEXT enhance cooperation between EU Member States and Neighbouring countries

4 days ago

📊Yesterday Interreg NEXT Romania-Ukraine closed its second call for regular projects with environmental focus. The first outcomes prove high interest among the applying organisations: the overall budget requested by the applicants exceeds the current allocation more than 10 times! 👇39 projects submitted under the second call for regular projects under #InterregNEXTRomaniaUkraine!🥳 Check more figures at #EUFunds #Cooperationprojects ... See MoreSee Less
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5 days ago

👩🧑Are you 18-30? Do you live in an #Eu Member State or EFTA country? Are you interested in cross-border issues? ➡️ Take a chance to become a 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀-𝗕𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗔𝗺𝗯𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗱𝗼𝗿! MORE DETAILS👇Are you ready to be part of the change you want to see across our #EUBorderRegions?We are thrilled to invite you to join the second edition of our initiative, in collaboration with Youth4Cooperation, 'Youth4Cooperation: Cross-Border Ambassadors'.This is your moment to share your ideas, lend your voice, and bring your experiences to actively contribute to European cross-border cooperation!💪⏳Deadline: 10 SeptemberLearn more & register: ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

🍞Do you know about ready-made tourist weekend packages which make you experience traditional lifestyles of Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine - like learning traditional ornament embroidery, making a beehive or baking bread in a wood-fired oven❓🏞Do you know that new water quality-monitoring stations and cameras are monitoring the transboundary rivers of the Upper-Tisza Basin, pulsing data every 5 minutes for an immediate pollution response❓🔌Do you know that charging locations for e-vehicles has been more than doubled (from 104 to 250) in the cross-border area between Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine❓✅These are just few examples of tangible benefits brought by the projects, implemented in the frame of the Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine #ENICBC programme. Discover them in new publication of the Programme ➡️ “𝗦𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻” 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

🪖Do you know the Estonian military history route and hiking trail in Setomaa vald? 🪑Or the Suhvli discovery centre telling about the Võru furniture production? They are among the exciting places to visit in Estonia. These sites, co-financed by Estonian EU external border programme 2014-2020, have become the protagonists of a popular 🇪🇪 TV show 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
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