Open Regional Funds South-East Europe

As a result of the conflicts in the 1990s, the former Yugoslavia broke apart and separate states were formed. The region then faced another challenge: to establish democratic structures and a free market economy. All these countries have signalled their desire to join the European Union and are working towards this goal.

After the upheavals of the early 1990s, South-East Europe needed support from the international donor community in order to undertake the rapid political and economic reforms that were required. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has provided assistance to the region through bilateral projects for the last 20 years.

Since 2007, BMZ has enhanced the effectiveness of this cooperation with the Open Regional Funds (ORF), implemented by GIZ.

Under the scheme, the South-East European countries submit their project proposals and GIZ helps to put them into practice. The process is fast and flexible, with minimal bureaucracy. The only prerequisite is that each project must involve cooperation between several countries and should support their efforts to move closer to the EU.

What does this mean in practice? All projects must support the implementation of the relevant Stabilisation and Association Agreements with the EU or promote compliance with the acquis communautaire – the body of European laws, rules and policies with which all EU Member States must comply.


Dr. Brigitte Heuel-Rolf

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