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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.

In the previous programming period, the EQUAL initiative was the ESF's vehicle for supporting transnational and innovative actions. During the period 2007-2013 the ESF is applying the lessons of EQUAL across the wide range of ESF interventions.

It is estimated that at least €3 billion will be used for transnational cooperation in this period, representing around 2.5% of the total ESF budget. Of this amount, €1.24 billion is going to dedicated transnational priority axes in 47 of the 116 operational programmes across the EU.

The current ESF Regulation (Art. 3) invites Member States and regions to support transnational cooperation in all policy areas identified for ESF interventions, such as:

  • increasing adaptability of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs,
  • enhancing access to employment, preventing unemployment and encouraging active ageing,
  • social inclusion of disadvantaged people and combating discrimination in the labour market,
  • enhancing human capital and
  • strengthening public administration, for all types of actors, and for all types of exchange and cooperation.

In contrast to the previous programming period, where the Commission provided the lead for stimulating and supporting cooperation, now there is a shift in responsibility to Member States and regions. The ESF Regulation stipulates that transnational cooperation is now an integrated feature of the ESF 2007-13 and therefore Member States and regions must now assume the main responsibility for learning from one another through exchange of good practice and knowledge, and working together.

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

Last but not least, 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 can take many different forms in the current ESF programming period. Member States have made some strategic choices on how to integrate transnational cooperation into the operational programmes. This includes 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