The cross-border programme between the North Macedonia and Albania will be implemented during the period of 2007-2013. This strategic document is based on a joint strategic planning effort between the two countries and is also the result of a large consultation process with the local stakeholders and potential beneficiaries. The objective of the cross-border programme is to promote good neighbourly relations, foster stability, security and prosperity, which is in the mutual interest of both countries, and encourage their harmonious, balanced and sustainable development.
The goal of both countries is to join the European Union. The North Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU in April 2001 and was awarded a candidate EU member state status in December 2005. Albania signed a SAA in June 2006.
To some extent, the cross-border programme will introduce some new and innovative actions at border where the frequency of people and goods is not very high. Due to the history of the countries and the mountainous feature of the border region, this particular programme is not building on an old tradition of partnerships and joint initiatives. Despite recent remarkable achievements, particularly in the environmental sector and in the southern part of the cross-border region, partnerships between local institutions and civil society, as well as business communities, are still at a preliminary stage. Motivating local institutions and people to use the opportunities offered by IPA component II and giving them the capacity to do it will constitute the major challenges in both countries.