Arable land

Managed grassland

Paddy rice field

Natural grassland

Tree crop

Tree plantation

Broadleaf deciduous forest

Broadleaf evergreen forest

Coniferous forest

Mixed broadleaf and coniferous forest


Waterlogged forest

Urban vegetated areas

Association of herbaceous and woody crops

Association of crops and natural trees

Shrub crop


Waterlogged vegetation

Artificial non-build up surface

Continuous urban fabric

Discontinuous urban fabric

Fragmentary urban fabric

Artificial build up surface

Artificial build up network

Consolidated bare surface

Unconsolidated bare surface



Lakes and impoundements


Covered agriculture land (greenhouse)


The SPATIAL project defines and builds the cooperation framework for harnessing the territorial capital in order to facilitate competitiveness and innovation for the entire border area. The objective of this project was to harmonize the economic, social, cultural and environmental policies of the entire border region, thus helping to increase the economic competitiveness and to strengthen the territorial, economic and social unity.

The main role of this project is to underpin the decisions of the public policies impacting the border area and the investment priorities via public funding. The short-, medium- and long-term evolution of the border area derives from the territorial development strategy that sets the specific objectives, programmes, policies and action plans for the following sectoral domains: economic, social, cultural, environmental and infrastructure.

SPATIAL project

The project „Common strategy for territorial development of the cross-border area Romania-Bulgaria ”, (MIS-ETC 171) is implemented by 12 partner institutions, central and local public administration, NGO from both countries, under the coordination of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration of Romania....

The project has been implemented in the period February 2012-August 2015, had a budget of 4.151.147, 26 euro and was financed by the Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.
Main results of the project are:

  • a common methodology for territorial planning;
  • a common territorial database, a common set of indicators and cartographic fund. Hardware and software equipment’s for the local public authorities from eligible area;
  • an analysis and territorial diagnosis of the current situation in the border area;
  • a regional brand: The Eastern Danube Region. A gateway.An Odyssey, to promote the Romania-Bulgaria cross-border area at European level;
  • Common strategy for territorial development of the cross-border area Romania-Bulgaria, as a base for future development strategic development and a framework that will better integrate the most important projects and joint initiatives;
  • implementation of 2 integrated pilot projects:
    • Strategic cross-border Concept for Spatial planning in the area of transport corridor no 9 and it’s immediate hinterland – Veliko Tarnovo Municipality;
    • Elaboration of the Regional spatial development scheme of District Pleven;
  • Implementation of 5 thematic pilot projects:
    • Economic area: Growth across borders;
    • Human resources area: Enhancing skills and competences through linking training and business;
    • Land improvement area: Land improvement data base for the cross-border area;
    • Tourism area: Capitalization of the landscapes from the cross-border area;
    • Transport area:
      • Pre-feasibility study for the investment objective –Building the third bridge over Danube between Romania and Bulgaria;
      • Feasibility study and analysis of the Danube panoramic road.


The process of developing and implementing a regional brand for the Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border area was part of the project and aims to ensure a common approach for a wider promotion of this region, with an emphasis on the touristic assets....

  • Analysis of the touristic potential;
  • Regional Brand: The Eastern Danube Region. A Gateway.An Odyssey;
  • Marketing plan.



This methodology sets the framework for a wide range of prospective initiatives for territorial planning cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria. A common perspective on territorial planning will ensure the coordination of the national and local development efforts with the need for integrated macro-regional development that may be achieved through strengthening cross-border cooperation in a sustainable perspective....

The methodology ensured the framework for the activities realised within the project, mainly as regards to the analysis, data base and strategy.

In the strategic planning process, the methodology should ensure the connection between planning and implementation, as well as the mobilisation of the resources required for implementation. At the same time, the methodology ensures the participative character, good information of the stakeholders, the use of a data system that are credible and coherent, and a monitoring and correcting system.

The main results related to the common territorial planning methodology are:

  • Audit of the planning systems in both countries;
  • Common methodology for territorial planning in the cross border area;
  • Methodological guide for planning;
  • Terms of reference for a Cross Border Territorial Observatory;
  • Terms of reference for Territorial Impact Assesement Tool.


The Romania-Bulgaria cross-border region covers 71.930 Km2 and is inhabited by 5.104 million people. It comprises 16 administrative level NUTS III areas (counties and districts /oblast), that are included in six development regions of level NUTS II....

The SPATIAL project offers a joint integrated and strategic approach for the whole Romania-Bulgaria cross-border area and it addresses as a potential functional area; in this way, the project goes beyond the constraints imposed by national boundaries or sectoral approaches.

On the basis of the common methodology and in order to prepare the elaboration of the strategy a comprehensive analysis has been elaborated.

The rerritorial analysis of the Romania-Bulgaria was developed in two stages, the first consisting of a multi-criteria analysis of all the relevant domains for spatial development of the area, the potential elements and main dysfunctions were identified for each relevant field. In the second stage a general diagnosis has been elaborated, which outlines a prognosis of the future of the border, through three variants of spatial development scenario.

The main results related to the territorial analysis are:

  • Common Territorial Analysis;
  • Synthesis of the territorial analysis.


The general objective was develop a comprehensive harmonized spatial database on land cover for the cross-border area belonging to Romania, as part of the common information resources needed for the elaboration of the common strategy for sustainable territorial development and impact monitoring for the entire project area....

The harmonized spatial database on land cover should serve as reference basis for the various sector thematic layers that could be part of the common information resources established for the cross-border area. Through its integration with the existing spatial databaset available in the project region it will constitute the backbone of the spatial data infrastructure (SDI) needed for territorial planning. The produced land cover information will be integrated later into a specific Web GIS portal to allow easy access to the data both for state (local, national administration) and public structures.

The elaboration of the reference land cover dataset take into account the abundant information on land cover already captured and stored in various products elaborated in the scope of different pan-European and national initiatives, such as CORINE Land cover (CLC), FAO TCP/BUL/8922 and FAO TCP/ROM/2801.

The data sets realised are in accordance with several relevant European acts and initiatives, such as the Danube Strategy, the EU Flood Directive, EU Common Agriculture Policy, etc. The elaboration of reference land cover profit also from the availability of certain input image datasets provided through the Copernicus programme of the European Union and take into account its further operational development for the systematic periodical update of the land cover data. The data model is in compliance with the conceptual framework laid down in the INSPIRE Data Specifications on Land Cover (version 3.0), in order to ensure the necessary interoperability with the spatial information collected at the macro-regional level for Lower Danube, crucial for the efficient conduction of future information for territorial development, risk assessment, land monitoring, emergency response and security. Last but not least, the land cover database ensure the necessary key information required for the calculation of various indicators at NUTS 3, 2 and LAU (local administration unit) levels.

The main results obtained by developing this data base are:

  • Common Land Cover Database;
  • Geoportal (WebGIS application).


The main objective of the project was to develop a common strategy for the cross border area, with an emphasis on the territorial dimension of the development process....

The Strategy aims at highlighting and valorising the regional identity, not only by placing emphasis on the common values, but also by stressing the cooperation and exchange between the two states. The Strategy provides the vision of an integrated spatial development of the cross-border area, with a focus on the particularities of the area: the peripheral character, the cultural and historical heritage, the environmental aspects and the transport networks. Therefore the strategy approaches the main common priorities, the twin cities on both sides of the Danube as territorial drivers, the role of development corridor of the Danube and the opportunities caused by the vicinity of the Black Sea.

The implementation of the measures identified by this Strategy aims at turning the cross-border area Romania-Bulgaria into an attractive, functional and cohesive region, a real access gate to South-East Europe.

The strategy elaborated will be proposed after the closure of the project to the both Governements for analysis and endorsement after all the regulatory and institutional specific requirements will be realised.

The main results as regards the common strategy are:

  • Common Strategy for Sustainable Territoril Development of the Cross-Border Area Romania-Bulgaria;
  • Green paper of the Common Strategy for Sustainable Territoril Development of the Cross-Border Area Romania-Bulgaria;
  • Report on the strategic environement assesement of the Common Strategy for Sustainable Territoril Development of the Cross-Border Area Romania-Bulgaria.


Within the project in order to start the common work on of the most important priorities identified on the analysis and strategy elaboration process. In this respect the project partners implement 7 pilot project: 2 integrated (spatial development schemes) and 5 sectorial (on economy, human capital, land improvement, tourism and transport)....

Each pilot project responds to the priorities of the border area, support the preparation of a future strategic project that can be funded during the financial period 2014-2020 and his implementation can contribute to achieving ot the EU2020 and European Union Strategy for the Danube Region.

The pilot project developed within the SPATIAL project are:

  • Regional Spatial Development Scheme of Pleven District
  • Strategic Cross Border Concept for Spatial Planning in the Area of Transport Corridor no.9 and its immediat hinterland
  • Sectorial pilot project on economic area: Growth across the borders
  • Sectorial pilot project on human ressources: Enhancing skills and competences through linking training and business
  • Sectorial pilot project on tourism: Capitalisation of the landscapes from the cross border area
  • Sectorial pilot project on transport: Improving the accesibility in cross border area
  • Pre-feasibility study for the investment objective Third bridge over the Danube between Romania and Bulgaria
  • Feasibility Study and anaysis on the Danube Panoramic Road


The European Landscape Convention aims to create a framework through transnational and cross border cooperation for the landscapes to become a common European value that could be shared by different cultures and nations....

100 landscapes units and 30 panoramic viewpoints have been identified and presented in the Atlas, together with recommendations and technical guidelines.

Romania – Bulgaria Cross Border Labdscapes Atlas has been elaborated in order to create a common reference framework for the landscapes and to encourage the public authorities from this area and other relevant institutions to take concrete initiatives in better valorising the landscapes.

Several other activities have been realised, as regards the landscapes within the SPATIAL project:

  • Audit of existing legislation;
  • Common methodology for the identification and evaluation of the landscapes;
  • Policy recommendations;
  • Romania – Bulgaria Cross Border Labdscapes Atlas.