Matra Programme Grants

The Matra Social Transformation Programme has made an active contribution to promoting security, cooperation and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and selected countries neighbouring the European Union (EU). Since 1994, the Dutch government has used Matra to encourage social regeneration in countries throughout the region.

The programme’s general aim is to support the transformation to a plural, democratic society governed by the rule of law. It therefore supports activities that promote reform of the state and its institutions, civil society organisations and the connections between them. During the initial programme period (1994-1998), cooperation focused mainly on civil society and local government. In 1998, a pre-accession facility was added to meet the growing need for support for central government, mainly in the accession countries.

In 2004 the Matra programme changed, partly because of the enlargement of the European Union and a changed European policy on good neighbourhood. Click on the link Related Matra documents for the letters sent by the Minister for European Affairs to parliament. In this overview you will find the applicable countries, themes and instruments of the Matra-Programme.

Matra currently operates in the following countries. The implementation of Matra varies between five different groups of countries:

1. New EU member states: Bulgaria and Romania (no new proposals).
2. Candidate countries for EU accession: Croatia, Macedonia, Turkey.
3. Potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
4. EU neighbours to the east: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
5. EU neighbours to the south: Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia (restrictions apply).

In the new EU member states, Matra aims to promote strategic cooperation between ministries. Assistance to this group of countries will gradually be phased out.

For the (potential) candidate countries, the main goals are to provide pre-accession support to ministries and their agencies, and to strengthen civil society.

For the eastern EU neighbours, the goals are to strengthen civil society and local governance, and to initiate cooperation between ministries.

In the EU neighbours to the south, a cautious approach has been adopted with embassies being awarded budgets for small embassy projects. In Morocco, Matra support has been widened.

The Matra Programme has twelve qualifying themes:

* Legislation and law
* Public administration/public order/police
* Human rights/minorities
* Environment
* Biodiversity
* Housing
* Information and the media
* Culture
* Welfare
* Health care
* Labour and social policy
* Education (related to at least one of the above themes).

Matra for European Cooperation
The Matra for European Cooperation Programme, consists of:

* the Matra Pre-accession Programme (MPAP) for institutional project support to the adoption and implementation of the acquis communautaire.
* the Matra Training for European Cooperation (MTEC) programme, which provides short-term training and academic courses
* Matra Flex provides financial resources for exchanges between ministries and their agencies in order to strengthen the network for European cooperation at the governmental level.
* the National Contact Point Twinning geared at promoting Dutch participation in the EU twinning programmes. The e-mail address is:

For more information, please visit the EVD website ( or HERE (

Matra for Good Governance

Matra’s activities promote good governance, mainly through support to strengthening of institutions and building the capacity of civil society organisations, local government, nature management organisations, political parties and local communities. In accordance with the basic philosophy, twinning networks between those organisations are strengthened. In order to make this broad range of interventions possible, Matra for good governance is subdivided into subprogrammes.

1. Matra Projects Programme (MPP)
The focus of MPP – Matra’s most important instrument – is ‘twinning’: direct cooperation between local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Dutch NGOs. Matra offers support for projects carried out with and by Eastern, Central European or Moroccan partners. These projects cover the full scope of Matra’s themes. Grant rounds, see Related Matra documents, are organised during which Dutch organisations can submit proposals to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See for more information the Matra Grants Manual under Related Matra documents, ( Matra/MPP).

2. Matra Political Parties Programme
The Matra Political Parties Programme provides support for the transformation of the young democracies into multi-party political systems. Training of young party leadership is of particular concern. The subprogramme is also based on the twinning formula, in this case twinning between Dutch political parties and their counterparts in Matra countries. Please contact the Matra Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information at:

3. Matra Small Local Activities Programme (Matra/KPA)
This subprogramme is about cooperation at the community level and is implemented by the Dutch organisation NCDO (National Commission for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development). The KPA programme supports small projects in Matra countries, through an additional contribution to a local fundraising initiative. For more information, please visit the NCDO website (

4. Matra Small Embassy Projects Programme (Matra/KAP)
Small Embassy Projects are small-scale local initiatives that are given modest financial support by a Dutch embassy. The programme supports the establishment of small NGOs and provides limited contributions to help NGOs fund activities in the areas of, for example, knowledge transfer, culture, public information provision or education. For more information, please visit the websites of the relevant Dutch embassies in the Matra countries



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