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Transnational cooperation

Collaborating and sharing experiences across borders, whether national, regional or organisational, is an effective way to access new ideas, innovative approaches and new skills. It helps participants understand what works and what does not, and why.

ESF funding is channelled to Member States and their regions to support national and regional Operational Programmes. However, in spite of this inward focus, transnational and inter-regional co-operation has long been a successful feature of ESF activities.

During the 2000-2006 programming period the EQUAL Community Initiative was the main driver for the delivery of transnational and interregional cooperation under the ESF. The regulation covering the 2007-2013 programming period established only the purpose and broader objectives of transnational cooperation (which was mandatory) and each country and region could choose the most suitable implementing arrangements. The Commission organised complementary support for promoting exchanges of experience, thematic networking and mutual learning through, in particular, the Learning Networks of the ESF Managing Authorities.

For the period 2014-2020, Article 10 of the ESF Regulation sets out that Member States shall support transnational cooperation in three different ways:

  • on the basis of common themes proposed by the Commission and endorsed by the ESF Committee, whereby Member States benefit from an EU-level platform established and operated by the Commission (common framework)
  • without central coordination (flexible approach)
  • through a combined approach of the above.

Transnational cooperation in the 2007-2013 period

Actions at European level

In order to provide additional support and incentives to work transnationally, the Commission has taken a number of actions.

Network of Transnational Contact Points

In 2007, a a Network of Transnational Contact Points in the Member States was established. The Transnational Contact Points are ESF managers responsible for implementing transnational aspects into the national and regional Operational Programmes in their country or region. Dealing mainly with implementation aspects, the purpose of the contact points are to ensure that effective mechanisms and procedures for making transnational cooperation work are in place, principally by putting ESF managers into contact with their peers, as well as sharing information and good practice.

Toolkit for transnational exchange and cooperation

Along with the cooperation with the contact points, the Commission has been encouraging the development and use of a web-based application, the Toolkit, designed to facilitate partner search and exchange of information on transnational cooperation. The Italian Ministry of Labour has undertaken to develop the Toolkit, with guidance from a steering group with representatives from several Member States and the Commission.

Learning Networks

Transnational 'Learning Networks' of ESF Managing Authorities and Intermediate Bodies that focus on specific thematic and governance issues are now up and running (co-financed by ESF Technical Assistance).

Ad-Hoc Group on Innovative and Transnational Cooperation

The most recent development in this field was the establishment at the end of 2009 of an ad-hoc group on innovation and transnational cooperation under the ESF Committee. The group meets two to three times a year and focuses on the policy and strategy aspects of innovation and transnationality in the ESF programmes and on developing a common understanding around transnational and innovative actions, including the regulatory framework.

Actions at national level

Transnational and interregional actions in the operational programmes

Transnational cooperation could take many different forms. Member States have made some strategic choices on how to integrate transnational cooperation into the operational programmes. This included considering the areas/themes for transnational cooperation which could add most value in their programmes, and whether transnational cooperation should be integrated as a dedicated priority, a cross cutting theme, or a combination of these options.

Please note that the information contained in this section is provided and updated by Managing Authorities.

Austria

Austria

Germany

Germany

Netherlands

Netherlands

Belgium

Belgium

Greece

Greece

Poland

Poland

Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Hungary

Hungary

Portugal

Portugal

Cyprus

Cyprus

Ireland

Ireland

Romania

Romania

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Italy

Italy

Slovakia

Slovakia

Denmark

Denmark

Latvia

Latvia

Slovenia

Slovenia

Estonia

Estonia

Lithuania

Lithuania

Spain

Spain

Finland

Finland

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

Sweden

Sweden

France

France

Malta

Malta

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Opportunities for transnational work

Call for Proposals across Europe

This section contains information on potential opportunities for transnational work within ESF across Europe. Please note that the list is not exhaustive. For more detailed information please refer to the respective national and regional website.

Relevant links:

Belgium
Flanders

Czech Republic

France

Germany

Italy

Malta

Poland

Spain
Andalusia

Aragon

Sweden

United Kingdom
England

Wales

A calendar of calls across the European Union can be found in the transnationality.eu website.

Transnational networking

In the context of the Commission's Action Plan to support transnational cooperation at EU level, calls for proposals were launched in 2008 and 2009 to fund networking and learning projects that would facilitate and strengthen transnational exchange and cooperation between ESF managing and implementing bodies and strategic stakeholders.

Learning Networks

Transnational networks of national initiatives

Other links