The European Union cohesion policy intends to strengthen the Community’s economic and social cohesion in order to promote a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of the Community, while at the same time reducing the economic, social and territorial disparities. In its guidelines for territorial cooperation for the Financial Perspective 2007-2013 the European Commission highlights territorial cohesion, which has together with economical and social cohesion significant role in achieving the objectives of Lisbon and Göthenburg strategies. New cohesion policy defines European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) as its third objective, which is oriented towards strengthening of cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation.
On European level 2,52 % or 7,75 billion euro of all cohesion funds have been assigned for European Territorial Cooperation (objective 3). Out of this, most funds, namely 73,86 % or 5.576 billion Euros from European Territorial Cooperation objective are assigned to cross-border cooperation, 20,95 % or 1.582 billion Euros to transnational and 5,19 % or 392 million Euros to interregional cooperation.
In view of the central geo-political level and the fact that the majority of Slovenia’s population lives in the border area, the European territorial cooperation (Objective 3) remains one of the key instruments for encouraging development of the border regions and herewith of the whole country.
Regarding the scope of assistance, the European territorial cooperation objective of the 2007-2013 programming period focuses its assistance provided by the ERDF on three main cooperation fields:
• The development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development
• Strengthening of transnational cooperation through actions related to the Community priorities, and promoting integrated territorial development
• Reinforcement of effectiveness of regional policies by promoting inter-regional cooperation through exchange of experience at appropriate territorial level
In the frame of European Territorial Cooperation, the Operational Programme Slovenia–Austria 2007-2013 is to be implemented to promote and assist cross-border cooperation between Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Austria.