Cooperation Programmes

Objectives of financial cooperation

The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme works with Russia in major economic and public developments by combining EU experience in market economies and democracies with Russia’s local knowledge and skills. Over the past decade the EU has provided funding for consultants, EU experts and investments to develop and reform local laws and regulations, as well as institutions and organizations, and major investment projects like eg border posts. EU financed projects have set up many partnerships and networks within communities.

The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme has focused on support for reform of the institutional, legal and administrative sectors, as well as support to the private sector in the areas of economic development, social consequences of transition, and nuclear safety.

Increasingly the EU and Russia are moving towards equal partnerships with co-financing of projects and focusing on areas of strategic importance and mutual interest for both parties.

Policy framework for financial cooperation

Since 1997 the EU-Russia cooperation programme has drawn inspiration from the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).

More recently, the EU-Russia strategic partnership has been developing within the four common spaces. The four common spaces include 1) common economic space; 2) common space for freedom, security, and justice; 3) common space for external security; and 4) common space for education, research and culture. The May 2005 EU-Russia summit adopted a package of road maps for these four common spaces. These road maps set out shared objectives for EU/Russia relations and the actions necessary to make these objectives a reality. All new projects implemented in the Russian Federation will also follow the priorities set out in the roadmaps.

North West Russia and Kaliningrad Oblast are priority geographic regions for EU-Russia cooperation programmes. The themes, objectives and priorities for projects are drawn not only from the four EU-Russia common spaces but also from the Northern Dimension framework, which goes beyond the common spaces and also covers issues such as public health and social well-being, environment, cross border cooperation.

Legal basis for financial cooperation: from Tacis to ENPI

In the period 1994 – 2006 the EU-Russia Cooperation Programme was funded through TACIS  (programme of technical assistance to CIS countries). Russia has been the biggest beneficiary of support to the countries in the post-Soviet region receiving about half of all funding. Since 1991, when the Programme was launched, 2.7 billion Euro has been granted to Russia and has been used in 1500 projects in 58 regions.

In addition to national Tacis programmes, Russia has received support through Tacis multi-country programmes, including the Regional Programme and the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme. This funding has covered projects in the fields of telecommunications, the environment, and Information Society networks, crime, and migration.

The TACIS regulation expired at the end of 2006. From 1 January 2007 it has been replaced by a new regulation for the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Financial cooperation between the EU and Russia will continue as before relying on this new legal basis for financing projects. The change from Tacis to ENPI has nevertheless brought some changes. The two parties will now more than before try to ensure co-financing of projects and focusing projects on strategic priorities. The areas of cooperation have been narrowed down to cover only areas mentioned in the roadmaps to the four common spaces and the northern dimension.

Cooperation based on dialogue

The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme is unique for several reasons. Firstly, all activities are the result of continuous dialogue between Russia and the EU, which fosters a sense of partnership and strong commitment on both sides. Secondly, the EU combines the knowledge and expertise of all 28 Member States, which brings a greater wealth of knowledge and experience than programmes supported by a single country. Thirdly, the Programme is integrated with the government through a framework established by the PCA and the four common spaces which furthers the strength of the commitment on both sides. The financing provided by the EC for cooperation with Russian counterpart organizations is in the form of grants, not loans, and it is increasingly co-financed by the Russian Federation.

The EU-Russia Cooperation Programme strives to ensure that the knowledge and skills are transferred to local partners who intend to remain in Russia following the project’s completion.

The Programme also fosters partnerships, studies, training, and networking throughout the EU and partner countries. Russian governmental organizations, NGOs and other institutions may make suggestions for future projects, either to authorities in their own countries or to the delegations of the European Commission in Russia.