Regional development in Latvian border regions
Norway finances 10 projects that aim to promote regional development in Latvia border regions and strengthen bilateral cooperation between Latvia and its neighbouring states.
Latvia's border regions are characterised by their peripheral geographical location and relative isolation from the national economy. Among the challenges the regions are faced with are poor conditions of roads and technical infrastructure, an ageing population due to low birth-rates and a high degree of out-migration among youth, high unemployment, and unevenly attainable public services. Latvia has chosen to use €2.3 million of the Norway Grants to address these negative trends through a cross-border cooperation fund.
The Latvian cross-border cooperation fund provides funding to projects and initiatives that will spur economic and social development of the border areas and that may also bring about a higher degree of socio-economic cohesion in the wider Baltic Sea region. Exchange of experiences and know-how across national and regional borders is encouraged, and all projects need to involve at least one partner in Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania or Russia.
Other key priorities of the fund are strengthening civil society by contributing to the development and cooperation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the area, and providing a more favourable environment for business development and entrepreneurship.
Among the supported projects is a cooperative effort between the Latvian municpality of Kekava and the Lithuanian municipality of Šiauliai on providing e-solutions to make public administration services more easily available to residents. Other examples are the Latgale Region in Latvia and the Pskov Oblast in Russia's elaboration of a joint development plan for attracting investment and promoting economic growth, and the cooperation between Dobele District in Latvia and Joniškis District in Lithuania on developing a business support system to encourage innovation and to promote cooperation between entrepreneurs and local policymakers. Latvian and Belarusian young people from Ludza and Glubokoye, pictured above, are working together on an "art bridge" project in which they learn about the region's history, traditions and cultural heritage.
Vita Prokopovica of the Latvian Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government, managing the fund, highlighted active cross-border cooperation as an important instrument for promoting sustainable and competitive development of the border area in her speech during the Open Days of the 2009 European Week of Regions and Cities.
Cross - border cooperation
Regional policy and cross-border activities
Type & project assistance:
Programme (group of projects)
Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government
Type of institution:
Grant agreement date:
16 January 2008
The purpose of the Fund is to improve attractiveness and sustainable development of cross-border regions by promoting cross-border cooperation in various fields and sustainable utilization of common resources, with the overall objective to promote harmonious and sustainable development and support socioeconomic cohesion of Latvia's border regions. Reference is made to the application, dated 27 February 2006 and to the additional information provided by the Focal Point on 11 May, 24 July 2007 and 13 August 2007.
The completed Fund shall include the following activities and results:
- Re-granting towards selected sub-projects to promote cross-border cooperation.
- Fund management.
The Intermediary is the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government .
The Focal Point shall ensure that the Intermediary provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible costs of the Fund.