The aim of the project is to contribute to the preparation of two EU-candidate countries, Montenegro and Serbia,  for the implementation of EU Cohesion policy, as requested in Chapter 22 of the Acquis Communautaire. 

The Regional Policy is the EU’s main investment policy for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and pursues the strategy to promote and support the overall harmonious development of its Member States and regions. As such, it requires adequate administrative capacity for the proper use of financial instruments and the implementation of related projects. 

Focusing on the programming phase of the Cohesion Policy, this project aims to offer a strategic framework and goal-oriented roadmap tailored to meet the needs of the two partner countries. 

Training activities will be organised to foster the exchange of know-how and experiences; these activities will help improve good governance in the beneficiary countries by strengthening the quality and capacity of competent institutions to undertake policy reforms and to promote the horizontal inclusion of diverse actors of society, such as civil society organisations, trade unions and chamber of commerce representatives. 

Through ongoing communication and information activities, the project also aims to shed light on the value added of  working on Chapter 22 for the overall advancement of the enlargement process, and stimulate a new narrative on integration perspectives able to overcome enlargement fatigue both in member and candidate countries.


Regional policy in Serbia's EU accession process

Serena Epis | 30/10/2023

Serbia has not yet opened Chapter 22 of the EU accession negotiations on regional policy and coordination of structural instruments. For the European Commission, the lack of an institutional framework and administrative capacities in key institutions remains the main obstacle

© hyotographics/Shutterstock

Montenegro: the challenge of negotiating Chapter 22

Gentiola Madhi | 24/10/2023

More than six years have passed since Montenegro started the negotiations on Chapter 22 on regional policy and, despite the efforts, the challenges to internally adapt to European standards persist. An interview

Podgorica, Montenegro © lakofilms/Shutterstock

Montenegro’s path to EU membership

Redazione | 15/06/2023

With eleven years of negotiations and 33 chapters opened, Montenegro’s road to EU accession remains long. The country is moderately prepared on regional policy, but several challenges remain. An overview


© Dmitrijs Kaminskis/Shutterstock

Insights into European cohesion policy

EU: cohesion and depopulation

In the whole of South-Eastern Europe, the data on depopulation are dramatic and require urgent reflections. In the rest of Europe the trend is less negative, but remains alarming

European cities, the frontier of cohesion

How to ensure that cities are places of rights and quality of life and not of division and marginalisation? European institutions, through cohesion policy, are trying to find solutions

European Cohesion Funds and environmental sustainability in the Balkans

In the last seven-year period of European cohesion funds, many billions of Euros have already been allocated to environmental protection. 9 went to the EU countries of South East Europe

The EU cohesion policy has been allocated 392 billion Euros for 2021-2027: ready to go?

Over the past year, many EU countries have signed partnership agreements with the European Commission for cohesion. What is it about? How are the countries of Southeast Europe doing?

Croatia and Serbia, the advantages of a good neighbourhood policy

Dozens of projects, hundreds of partners involved, nine cross-border regions thinking together about their future. A review of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme between Croatia and Serbia

Sharing knowledge to protect the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea

"Candidate countries for EU accession work really hard and they have the knowledge, but the experience of partner institutions from EU members is invaluable". When transnational networks help European integration. An interview

Insights into the enlargement process

Innovation in the Western Balkans, looking for stars

Supporting the development of young and innovative businesses in the Western Balkans. This is the objective of the Star Venture programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We talked about it with regional coordinator Dejan Tonic

Europride in Serbia: success and defeat

Prohibitions and threats failed to stop Belgrade's Europride and its colourful parade through the streets of the capital. However, there were also accidents, hate speech, and violence. The road to full realisation of LGBT rights in Serbia remains an uphill one

Cooperation between territories to relaunch enlargement to the Western Balkans

How can the macro-regional strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) facilitate enlargement to the Western Balkans? This was discussed in a webinar last October

North Macedonia, Europe is more than a football field

North Macedonia is now fully part of Europe only in football. The country is condemned to a long wait which highlights all the contradictions of the EU enlargement strategy to the Western Balkans. A comment

Balkans in the EU: a future to be designed together

The European Parliament seems much more inclined to open up to the Western Balkans than the Commission and the Council, and recently requested to include these countries in the Conference on the Future of Europe which will open on 9 May

Bulgaria – North Macedonia, a short-sighted veto on the road to the EU

With the veto on the opening of negotiations for North Macedonia's accession to the EU, the Bulgarian government plays the nationalist card, above all for contingent reasons of domestic politics. The consequences, however, are likely to be heavy in the medium and long term

No more blackmailing on the Western Balkans, Europe must think of itself as 33 countries

"Reforming the EU, and only then opening up to the Balkans". The reasoning of French president Macron – now strong in Europe – appears sensible, but leads off-road. The EU must change and think of itself as 33 countries, without leaving the Western Balkans behind

Project coordinator: Project partners:
Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali, Federali e sulle Autonomie “Massimo Severo Giannini” - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (ISSiRFA - CNR)
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT)


Ministry for European Affairs of the Government of Montenegro (MEA)
Ministry of European Integration of the Republic of Serbia (MEI)


European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina (FEP)



This project is financed by the CEI Fund at the EBRD contributed by Italy