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Program for decentralized cooperation between the Region Normandy and Republic of Macedonia

The project at a glance:
The Programme for decentralized cooperation between the Region Lower Normandy (France) and Macedonia started in 2006. It is an innovative cooperation where a French Region cooperates with a state, the Macedonian state. Having the local governance is in the heart of the project - institutional partners are the Regional Council of Lower Normandy and Macedonian Ministry for local self-government. This institutional cooperation is based on an action plan of activities between stakeholders from both territories. Formally conceived as a three-year project (2007 – 2010), this cooperation continued with 2 more projects (2010 -2013 and 2013- 2016). The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Region Normandy (ex-Lower Normandy Region) financially supported the activities of this programme. In 10 years, the cooperation Normandy – Macedonia gathered around 250 partners from both territories and enabled the mobility of around 100 people per year.
The lead coordinator is the Association of the Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) since the beginning.

In December 2016, the Region Normandy decided to focus on the topic of the Remembrance of the Macedonian Front of the First World War in Macedonia. Leaving the leadership of this programme, the Municipality of Colombelles with other stakeholders from Normandy and Macedonia will together build a new project in 2017.

This cooperation is a product of a joint effort of the two partner entities to open up to the world and to encourage their population to engage in active citizenship at local and European levels by reciprocity and exchange. This project aims to support the accession of Macedonia to the European Union respecting the adoption of the Acquis Communautaire. Aiming to strength the aspect of good local governance in all areas of co-operation, as each action is to develop the capacity of the local populations and to disseminate good practices and exchange good experience. The main objectives for both territories are to reinforce the capacity of local authorities to implement the decentralization process, to mobilize citizens and to ensure that the development is sustainable.

Activities and participants

During its 10 years of existence, the programme has changed a lot its own structure. The original component since the beginning has been: the Cooperation of municipalities: the way to European citizenship. The main result obtained is the agreements for cooperation between French and Macedonian municipalities - in 2016 they are 16 municipalities actively working together. The direct co-operation between the local authorities allows citizens from Macedonia and France to meet each other, which is strengthening the sense of belonging to one European identity and citizenship.
The programme is also based on territorial projects. During 6 years, this projects were implemented on 3 years on thematic projects, are implemented by two organizations from France and Macedonia in a tandem. The topics were: digital technologies and media for better local governance, Youth active citizenship on local level, inventory of cultural heritage, capacity building of stakeholders in the field of culture, support and promotion of sustainable tourism, support of sustainable agricultural development.
In the last 3 years, the co-operation Normandy / Macedonia launched 2 calls for projects. 22 projects have been implemented on the respective topics of:


  • Peace and reconciliation;
  • Human Rights: Citizen participation;
  • Culture and Cultural Heritage;
  • Tourism.

On the other hand, the programme strengthened its action regarding Institutional co-operation on the topic of equitable regional Development in Macedonia and by this, the exchanges between the Regional Council of Normandy with the Macedonian partner, the Ministry of Local Self-Government and lately the Secretary for European Affairs. The decentralized co-operation between Normandy and Macedonia gives its institutional support and enables exchanges of good practices through trainings, study visits, conference etc. In the last 3-year-long programme, the programme will also produce a survey on the use of the EU funds by the local authorities of Macedonia.
They are involving citizens and organisations at various levels: public institutions, NGOs, professional bodies, the media as well as other relevant parties.

The programmes kept focusing on 3 topics:

  • Human rights, implemented by the Institute for Human Rights and Peace of Caen;
  • Artistic mobility – Cultural policy, implemented by Lokomotiva – Centre for New Initiatives in Culture and Arts;
  • Youth information and mobility, implemented by SEGA and the “Maison pour Tous Léo Lagrange de Cherbourg”

These 3 components of the programme aim to keep enabling the local stakeholders to influence the policy making process at a local level.
Finally, in 2013 when the commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War started, the Decentralized co-operation Normandy / Macedonia opened a new project: the Remembrance of the Macedonian Front. This topic is approached as a key in the process of reconciliation and conflict prevention in Europe but also a great opportunity to support local development thanks to the Remembrance tourism. National institutions of Macedonia, local authorities, schools and universities, French Embassy in Macedonia and the French Institute, NGO’s and scientists from Macedonia – France and Europe are already involved.

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