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Neighbourhood programme

The Neighbourhood Programme is Denmark's bilateral development programme for EU’s neighbouring countries to the east and southeast. The overall objective of the Neighbourhood Programme is to promote human rights, democracy and economic development.

Photo of Greenhouse in Gjilan

This is the third phase of the Neighbourhood Programme, which was launched in 2004. 1 billion DKK has been allocated for the Neighbourhood Programme 2013-17 and will be carried out with approximately 200 million DKK a year.


The aim of the Neighbourhood Programme 2013-17 is to contribute to a peaceful and stable Europe with freedom and progress through development of democratic societies with accountable authorities, vibrant civil societies, well-functioning markets and conflict resolution mechanisms across the continent. The Neighbourhood Programme applies a human rights-based approach underpinning efforts to realise social, cultural, economic, political and civil rights.

The Strategy has two major objectives: 1) Human rights and democracy, including good governance, conflict resolution and peace-building, gender equality, minority rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, as well as strengthening of civil society and independent media; and 2) Sustainable and inclusive economic development, including private sector development aiming at promoting sustainable growth, skills development, job creation, energy efficiency and green technology. Assistance under each objective focuses on a number of key intervention areas.


Seven priority countries in the region have been selected to receive the Danish support. On the Western Balkans the countries are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Among the Eastern Partnership countries Ukraine, Belarus (assistance is limited to the pillar of Human Rights and Democracy), Moldova and Georgia have been prioritized.

Given the need to focus the assistance on larger and fewer interventions, it will not be possible to cover all key intervention areas in all seven priority countries within the five-year time span of the strategy. Approximately 80 % of the annual budgetary frame will be allocated to long-term support (typically 4-5 years) to selected priority countries and within selected intervention areas. The remaining approximately 20 % will be available for more flexible interventions in the entire Neighbourhood region, e.g. responses to sudden conflicts or the appearance of new political opportunities, and to support participation of public Danish institutions in EU-programmes. This distribution will ensure that means also are available for non-priority countries, e.g. support to human rights and democracy in countries where Denmark has previously had substantial commitments, such as Georgia and Serbia, and to a limited extend Russia and Turkey.