Interreg : European Territorial Co-operation

European Territorial Cooperation (ETC), better known as Interreg,  is one of the two goals of cohesion policy and provides a framework for the implementation of joint actions and policy exchanges between national, regional and local actors from different Member States. The overarching objective of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is to promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the Union as a whole. Interreg is built around three strands of cooperation: cross-border (Interreg A), transnational (Interreg B) and interregional (Interreg C).
Five programming periods of Interreg have succeeded each other:
 INTERREG I (1990-1993) -  INTERREG II (1994-1999) - INTERREG III (2000-2006) - INTERREG IV (2007-2013) - INTERREG V (2014-2020)

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    In September 2015 the Commission launched the Cross-border Review, to study the obstacles that people in the border regions are still facing. Part of this review was an EU-wide public consultation, for which the results are unveiled today.

    Not only did respondents clearly identify remaining cross-border issues, but they were also asked to put forward concrete ideas on how to overcome them, which are compiled in this report.

    They mention five main obstacles:

    1. legal and administrative barriers (lack of recognition of qualifications, differences in social security, pension and taxation systems),
    2. language barriers,
    3. difficult physical access (lack of infrastructures and of integrated public transport systems),
    4. lack of cooperation between public authorities on cross-border issues, and
    5. economic disparities (differences in the labour market and wages, creating asymmetric flows).

    More than €10 billion from ESI Funds will be invested in fostering cross-border cooperation over 2014-2020.

    More Information

    The Spring 2016 edition of Panorama is now available online and features several articles which detail various types of support provided by the European Commission to help Member States make the best possible use of Cohesion Policy funding and to address problems with implementation. 

    We take a look at the results of the survey 'Overcoming obstacles in border regions' and at the key findings from a recently published survey on perceptions of quality of life in European cities. Elsewhere, we explain the synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and profile the work of the IQ-NET Network. Our In Your Own Words section features contributions from Greece, France and United Kingdom. 

    You will also find the usual selection of news items and featured projects from across the EU.

    Panorama 56: Coordinated efforts to safeguard funding

    Articles online

    On 8 April, Professor Roberta Capello, Politecnico di Milano, will deliver a lecture on "Territorial scenarios for Europe: future alternative growth "

    The lecture will involve a 45 minute presentation from Prof. Capello, followed by a response from Prof. Michael Landesmann from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies and University in Linz, followed by questions from the audience. The lecture will take place at the premises of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) on 8 April 2016 from 16:00 to 18:00.

    Academics, staff from DG REGIO and other Commission services, other EU institutions as well as from the Member States' representations and regional offices are welcome to participate!

    This is the fourth of a series of academic lectures organized by DG REGIO in cooperation with European Regional Science Association (ERSA) on key issues in regional and urban policy. The purpose of this lecture series is to make available to a broad range of policymakers important research in the context of the preparation for post-2020 EU Cohesion Policy proposals.

    See the videos of the previous lectures on the dedicated Inforegio webpage.

    More information on registrations and on the upcoming lecture series

More news


Interreg 25 Years25 years ago this year, Interreg was developed as a Community Initiative in with a budget of just EUR 1 billion covering exclusively cross-border cooperation. Later, Interreg has been extended to transnational and interregional cooperation. For 2014-2020 European territorial cooperation is one of the two goals of Cohesion Policy near   investment for Growth and Job. The 25th anniversary of Interreg is being celebrated this year with a variety of events around Europe culminating in a ceremony on European Cooperation Day in Luxembourg on 15-16 September. Over the years, Interreg has become the key instrument of the European Union to support cooperation between partners across borders. The aim: to tackle common challenges together and find shared solutions - whether in the field of health, research and education, transport or sustainable energy.

Interreg evolution

Interreg programmes are funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support the harmonious development of the European Union's territory at different levels. Interreg has three types of programmes: cross-border, transnational and interregional.

2014-2020 period – Interreg V

In accordance with the new design of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 and the targets set out in Europe 2020, Interreg has significantly been reshaped to achieve greater impact and an even more effective use of the investments. Key elements of the 2014-2020 reform are:
-Results orientation
The fifth period of Interreg is based on 11 investment priorities laid down in the ERDF Regulation contributing to the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. At least, 80% of the budget for each cooperation programme has to concentrate on a maximum of 4 thematic objectives among the eleven EU priorities:

11 priorities

The fifth programming period of Interreg has a budget of EUR 10.1 billion invested in over 100 cooperation programmes between regions and territorial, social and economic partners. This budget also includes the ERDF allocation for Member States to participate in EU external border cooperation programmes supported by other instruments (Instrument for Pre-Accession and European Neighborhood Instrument).

Interreg Budget

Interreg and inter-regional cooperation 2014-2020: state of play - video recording of the briefing (07/05/2015)

2007-2013 period – Interreg IV

The forth programming period of Interreg had a total budget of EUR 8.7 billion (2, 5 % of the total 2007-13 allocation for cohesion policy). This budget includes the allocation for Member States to participate in EU external border cooperation programmes supported by other instruments (Instrument for Pre-Accession and European Neighborhood Instrument). The budget was distributed as follows:

  • 60 Cross-border – Interreg IV-A, along 38 internal EU borders. ERDF contribution: EUR 5.6 billion.
  • 13 Transnational – Interreg IV-B, covering larger areas of co-operation such as the Baltic Sea, Alpine and Mediterranean regions. ERDF contribution: EUR 1.8 billion.
  • The interregional co-operation programme (INTERREG IVC) and 3 networking programmes (Urbact II, Interact II and ESPON) cover all 28 Member States of the EU. They provide a framework for exchanging experience between regional and local bodies in different countries. ERDF contribution: EUR 445 million.

The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation

Meetings & Events

Interreg Annual Meeting June 6-7 2016

Interreg Annual Meeting September 15 2015

Interreg Annual Meeting May 19-20 2014

European Territorial Cooperation Annual Meeting 2013

Annual meeting of cross-border programmes 2011


European Territorial Cooperation: building bridges between people