Strengthening Democracy through MATRA
Matra is a major program run by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through which the Netherlands supports countries of the Southeast Europe with their EU accession prospects.
The name Matra derives from the Dutch words for social transformation – ‘maatschappelijke transformatie’. The overall goal of Matra is development of a plural democracy, grounded in the rule of law, with room for dialogue between the government and civil society; building capacity and strengthening the institutions of civil society and government, and strengthening bilateral relations.
The conditions for joining the EU are addressed in the Copenhagen Criteria. Membership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.
The Netherlands helps strengthen the capacity of government institutions in countries in Southeast Europe with EU accession prospects, so that they can meet the Copenhagen criteria. Projects of governments, local organizations and political parties can be funded through different components of the Matra programme.
Components of the Matra programme:
- Matra Embassy Fund
Under the auspices of MATRA framework Dutch Embassy in Belgrade supports the activities of civil society organizations and government institutions in Serbia and Montenegro specifically aimed at achieving stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.
Download MATRA Embassy Fund 2011/2012 Implementation Report (PDF)
- Matra CoPROL
Matra finances cooperation between governmental organizations in the Netherlands and the Matra countries. The aim is to strengthen the capacity of the governments in the Matra countries. The cooperation must be complementary to the activities of the European Commission in those countries. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can apply for grants from this Matra component up to 27 March 2013. For more information, see the Grants Policy Framework for Matra CoPROL (PDF).
- Matra PATROL
Pre-accession training program for strengthening institutional capacity in the Rule of Law.
This training program aims to stimulate, support and contribute to the efficient implementation of the EU Acquis in the area of ‘rule of law’ and to strengthen relations between the Netherlands and the target countries by sharing the necessary knowledge and skills with policy advisors, members of the judiciary and other civil servants.
The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Europe Department (DEU) has commissioned the T.M.C. Asser Institute with the implementation of this training program, in cooperation with Ecorys Nederland BV and The Hague Academy for Local Governance during the period 2012-2015.
For more information on the program (training topics, requirements, application guidelines, fees and expenses, etc.) please visit the website of the Asser Institute.
- The government subsidizes activities of Dutch political parties to strengthen the ties with their sister parties in the Matra countries, and to improve the organization. This component falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations .