EU Integration of South-Eastern Europe

Project description

Title: EU integration of South-Eastern Europe
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Country: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine
Overall term: 2011 to 2014

Bosnia and Herzegovina © GIZ


The central political goal for South-Eastern Europe, from the perspective of both the South-Eastern European countries themselves and the European Union (EU), is to forge closer ties with the EU and ultimately achieve accession. This step is important in creating the overall conditions for political, economic and legal stability and initiating internal reforms and cross-border partnerships between the countries.


The resources, capacity and performance of management and administrations are strengthened at local, regional and national level and collaboration among the countries in the region is intensified.


The programme uses various formats to build capacity. Needs-driven measures for further education and training, networking, dialogue platforms and ‘capacity to build capacity’ approaches to qualify training institutions are implemented in participative planning processes. These measures focus on the stakeholders' ability to take action to enable them to shape change processes independently and with a view to the long term.

The project concentrates on building capacity in three components:

  1. EU pre-accession processes at central level
    Apart from political leaders, public administrations are the main drivers behind reform and adaptation processes. They are responsible for implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and managing the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). Support is provided for structures that allow independent planning, implementation and evaluation of IPA projects and give access to IPA funds in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. Multipliers acquire the necessary technical and methodological skills. Decision-makers in the central administrations are trained to assimilate the EU’s common body of law (Community acquis) and to implement the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
  2. EU integration of rural economic areas
    Sustainable economic development of rural areas is needed to ensure the region's internal stability and its integration into the EU. The project supports integrated rural regional development in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia and regional cooperation between these countries. Advanced and further training offered to local and regional stakeholders links participative regional development with local and regional economic development and the relevant EU assistance programmes. To capitalise on the development potential of rural areas, stakeholders learn to initiate, manage and implement regional development processes.
  3. Vocational training to develop the economic and labour markets in preparation for EU accession
    In Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and the Ukraine, the project supports the development of qualification and credit systems intended to make diplomas and educational opportunities more transparent and comparable at EU level. To involve the private sector more in the structure of the vocational training systems, companies and training facilities are supported in developing, implementing and evaluating needs-based training programmes. The project aims to give operational staff the skills they need to perform effectively.


The regional design of the HCD measures has produced learning effects in the partner countries and led to the creation of multi-country networks.

Experts from ministries, non-governmental organisations and the education sector have gained the necessary expertise to acquire and implement EU projects and the skills needed to pass on this knowledge in their working environment.

In pilot regions, local and regional stakeholders are able to establish EU-compliant structures for integrated rural development in their countries.

Partner institutions in the education sector have developed and are implementing skills-based vocational standards.

EU integration of South-Eastern Europe. Participants in the Managing Regional Rural Governance training in Zschortau, 2010 © GIZ

Regional conferences promote exchange among experts as well as political dialogue. At the annual Agricultural Policy Forum for South-Eastern Europe, representatives from across the political, academic and business spectrum meet to discuss strategies for creating a political framework for rural development in line with EU standards

Multi-country networks strengthen the regional transfer of knowledge and skills.

Further information