Slovakia and Czech Rep. Ink Memorandum on Cross-border Cooperation

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (stock photo by TASR)

Modra, March 28 (TASR) – Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna and Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova signed a Memorandum on Cross-border Cooperation in Modra (Bratislava region) on Tuesday, TASR learnt on the same day.

At the same time, the two ministers evaluated the achievements of the 2007-13 Interreg operational programme for cross-border cooperation between the two countries.

“We’re pleased to note that as much as 92 percent was drawn for joint projects concerning cross-border cooperation from the previous programme period,” said Matecna, adding that this cross-border cooperation concerns 5 million people on each side of the border and covers an area of almost 33,000 square kilometres.

“We hope that in the new programme period, which features some €90 million and has included 253 projects to date, we’ll draw the allocation to a greater extent than in the previous programme period,” said Matecna.

According to Slechtova, as many as 321 projects were supported in the 2007-13 programme period. “For the Czech side I must say that we’d be very pleased if we were able to increase the percentage of funds drawn to 95 percent or above. However, we’ve had to fight some red tape. I’ll be glad if such problems are resolved in the new 2014-20 programme period,” she said.

According to director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s cross-border section Katarina Mihalova, there is great interest in the joint programme, with 250 applications for non-refundable financial benefits submitted at the moment.

Mihalova noted that the focus will be on three priority areas in the new programme period – education aimed at supporting the labour market, promoting the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and institutional cooperation between towns and villages.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the new Interreg programme between Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the 2014-20 programme period is based primarily on the needs of the border territories of both countries. The border between Slovakia and the Czech Republic stretches 251.8 kilometres.