The Austrian - Hungarian border region has an important bridge-building function between the Western and Eastern Europe and stretches along a main corridor between the Baltic and Adriatic Sea. For the last ten years, this excellent geographic location has contributed to an economic growth above average.
The border region has about 3.7 Mio inhabitants and shows several strengths and positive economic trends: a growing number of companies in the whole region, a dynamic services sector, a well educated labour force, a sufficient supply of commercial space, innovation and technology centres, various clusters, cross-border network activities and areas of a high agrarian value.
Furthermore, the border region abounds in natural resources and a large number of eco-systems. A distinctive feature is the abundance of thermal as well as mineral springs and of important sites of common cultural heritage.
The EU-funded ETC-Programme (European Territorial Cooperation) supports cross-border cooperation projects in the border region Austria - Hungary. The main objective of the programme is to intensify cross-border contacts in the areas of economy, social affairs, culture and ecology, in order to strengthen the regional competitiveness and diminish regional disparities.
Austria and Hungary have a long history of cross-border cooperation. The continuous exchange between the two countries has become commonplace for people and companies. This positive development is to be encouraged further: The programme co-finances projects that are developed jointly and aim at a sustainable and innovative use of the common regional potential.
The programme's efforts concentrate on two thematic areas of cooperation - the so called priorities, which comprise distinctive objectives and activity fields.
In order to receive funding a cross-border project must be in line with these priorities and activities as well as their objectives.
Innovation, integration and competitiveness
...promotes the development of an economically competitive region by supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, research & development, human resources, tourism and networks and clusters. The activities ought to stimulate and intensify cooperation and innovation among the economic and social actors in the region.
Sustainable development and accessibility
...promotes environmental protection, equal opportunities, social cohesion, economic growth and sustainable development in the programme region. Projects in the areas of eco-mobility or transport improve internal and external accessibility, which is also an important prerequisite for economic development. Initiatives in the areas of economic development, environment and nature as well as social and cultural cooperation will bring forward a positive development of the border region.
Each priority comprises three activity fields:
1.1 Promote economic cooperation
1.2 Increase the sustained growth of labour
1.3 Ensure the quality of social infrastructure and public services
2.1 Improve eco-mobility, transport and regional accessibility
2.2 Enhance cross-border governance system
2.3 Improve the management of natural resources
The cross-border cooperation programme Austria - Hungary is financed through the European Funds for Regional Development (ERDF). The total programme budget amounts to 101m €. The EU contributes ERDF-resources to the amount of 82m €, the member states Austria and Hungary provide 18.5m € of national co-financing.
Projects receive funding from the EU up to a maximum of 85% of their total costs, while national public co-financing has to be ensured in a ratio of at least 15:85.