As Danuta Hubner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy stated, "The South-East Europe programme is of particular importance for Europe"(...) There are challenges in this part of Europe which exist nowhere else on our continent and this makes it all the more important that you can work together effectively in this transnational programme."
Jointly for our common future is the slogan chosen by the 16 participating countries in the programme to commence the work in the new programming period 2007-2013.
On 20 December 2007 the European Commission approved the Transnational Co-operation Programme "South-East Europe" for the period 2007-2013. The South East Europe programme is the transnational programme which gathers the biggest number of participating countries: 16 in total. As 8 of these are EU Member States, 6 are candidate and potential candidate countries and 2 are countries participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy, this is a highly complex programme which presents challenges such as ensuring good mechanisms to contract partners who receive funding from different instruments: ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), IPA (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance) and potentially ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument).
As Danuta Hubner, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy has remarked at the opening of the Programme: "South-East Europe provides a political dimension to transnational co-operation which is unique in Europe. With all the candidate and potential candidate countries for membership of the European Union in the region, there is a strong moral obligation to take co-operation forward, to build links between authorities and organisations, and to create projects and results which will deliver real benefits to all the people in the region. In this way, the South-East Europe programme becomes a bridge to the Union, a link to the EU's Cohesion Policy and a tool for disseminating good practice to the candidate countries."