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France, United Kingdom

Operational Programme 'France (Channel) – England'

Programme under the European Territorial Co-operation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

On 19 September 2008 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Operational Programme between France and the United Kingdom for the period 2007-2013. This programme involves Community support for the following regions: Somme, Seine-Maritime, Calvados, Manche, Côtes-d'Armor, Finisterre, Ille-et-Vilaine (in France); Norfolk, Suffolk, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Essex CC, Brighton and Hove, East Sussex CC, West Sussex, Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire CC, Isle of Wight, the Medway Towns, Kent CC, Bournemouth and Poole, Dorset CC, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Plymouth, Torbay, Devon CC (in the United Kingdom).

The regions of Oise, Eure, Orne, Morbihan and Pas de Calais in France, and also Somerset, Wiltshire CC, Surrey and Cambridgeshire CC in the United Kingdom, which are eligible to participate in the projects as adjacent areas, receive a maximum of 20% of the ERDF funding allocated to the programme.

The total budget of the Programme is about €328 million, with Community assistance through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounting to some €173 million. This represents approximately 1.98% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Co-operation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

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The France (Channel)-England Operational Programme (OP) is a maritime programme. The English Channel – which is a border as well as an international and cross-border transport corridor – is today becoming a bridge between the seaboards of France and England. For a host of reasons 'the Channel' is a source of acute challenges and opportunities, and it is in this light that previous efforts – as part of the England-France INTERREG IIIA programme, the Rives Manche programme and the Transmanche programme – have demonstrated the relevance of a cross-border co-operation programme with the sea as focal point.

One of the common features of the two eligible areas is the proximity of each to their respective capital cities. This has benefits, such as strong economic spill-over effects, but also entails challenges related to the social and environmental problems of densely populated and congested areas. The eligible areas have now adopted regional development plans, which support the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies.

The strategic aim of the France (Channel)-England 2007-13 OP is to support the emergence of a common area of citizenship and instil a sense of belonging to a cross-border area with a unique identity through the development of durable co-operation between partners on both sides of the cross-border zone, as part of a three-pronged approach involving business innovation and economic competitiveness, social cohesion, and sustainable development.

Co-operation sustainability must be based on an awareness of shared interests and also grounded in collective project activities. This was made clear by the lessons drawn from the previous programme. Enlargement of the eligible area makes this even more important as it implies supporting the mobility and training of citizens and the improvement of mutual understanding.

2. Expected impact of investments

It is expected that the France - England cross-border co-operation programme will contribute to:

  • promoting the learning of each other’s language and culture (including shared cultural and heritage related activities);
  • reinforcing mutual understanding by sharing approaches and identifying common issues. This will stimulate efforts to allow the programming area to become a ‘learning region’ and boost business and excellence in research;
  • supporting the creation of new enterprises and business services;
  • promoting long-lasting co-operation in maritime activities;
  • developing concrete solutions to problems of social inclusion;
  • diversifying the range of tourist activities on offer;
  • promoting renewable energies;
  • improving environmental risk management and raising awareness of environmental issues.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priority axes:

Priority 1: Reinforce the sense of belonging to a common space of citizenship and raise awareness of common interests [approximately 10.1% of total funding]

This priority seeks to develop cooperative activities across maritime borders and enhance social cohesion and cultural identity, while upholding the requirements of sustainable development. In this context, networks of cross-border organizations will be created so as to foster co-operation activities.

Priority 2: Build partnerships for cross-border economic development and centres of excellence [approximately 32.1% of total funding]

This priority aims to:

  • identify and support ‘clusters’ of cross-border economic excellence;
  • boost cross-border economic development (including trade) by bolstering a business support service system and creating new companies;
  • promote co-operation in the maritime sector.

Priority 3: Build an attractive region to live in and visit [approximately 23.3% of total funding]

This priority seeks to find solutions to problems of social inclusion, develop joint cultural activities and improve tourism by diversifying the range of activities on offer.

Priority 4: Ensure a sustainable environmental development of the common space [approximately 30.4% of total funding]

This priority aims to promote renewable energies and protect the environment (including raising awareness of environmental issues and risk management as regards environmental damage).

Priority 5: Technical Assistance [approximately 4% of total funding]

There are provisions for technical assistance for implementing the Operational Programme. Financial support is available and covers administration, monitoring, evaluation and control; and information and communication.

4. Managing Authority

Conseil régional de Haute Normandie
Hôtel de Région
5, rue Schuman BP 1129
F-76174 Rouen Cedex 1
Directeur général des Services
Jean-Pascal, COGEZ

Financial and Technical information

Title : Operational Programme 'France (Channel) – England'

Intervention Type : Operational Programme

CCI no : 2007CB163PO040

Number of decision : C/2008/5089

Final approval date : 2008-09-19

Breakdown of finances by priority axis
Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Reinforce the sense of belonging to a common space of citizenship and raise awareness of common interests 17 275 194 15 946 333 33 221 527
Build partnerships for cross-border economic development and centres of excellence 54 691 464 50 484 428 105 175 892
Build an attractive region to live in and visit 39 732 946 36 676 566 76 409 512
Ensure a sustainable environmental development of the common space 51 825 582 47 838 998 99 664 580
Technical Assistance 9 930 660 3 310 220 13 240 880
Total 173 455 846 154 256 545 327 712 391
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