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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    The Commission adopted today the 2014-2020 cross border cooperation programme between Slovakia and Hungary. With a total budget of €172 million, with €146 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the programme aims to boost employment, promote sustainable tourism and improve mobility in investing in public transport and new connections in the Hungarian-Slovak border region.

    Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "I am pleased to adopt this programme benefiting the border regions of Hungary and Slovakia; the two countries will be able to increase their cooperation in key growth generating areas such as tourism or sustainable transport."

    The programme will help preserve and promote the common natural and cultural heritage, including in the fields of joint water management and natural risk prevention. It will also focus on the development of a cross border sustainable tourism activity.

    The cooperation aims to enhance the internal connectivity of the region as a unique and integrated economic space, by providing better access to the TEN-T network and by promoting environmental-friendly regional public transportation and logistics systems.

    The programme will also focus on the improvement of labour mobility, the integration of the cross border labour market and the creation of job opportunities based on local economic assets and growth strategies. Finally, the programme aims to support the cooperation of public institutions and communities living next to each other.

    The impacts of the programme are expected to include:

    • 800,000 more visitors to the region;
    • Decrease in the average distance between border crossing points from 22km to 15 km;
    • 60,000 more passengers taking cross border public transport;
    • Increase in the employment rate in the border regions from 63.2% to 65.2%;
    • Increased level of cross-border cooperation between authorities and communities.

    More information:

    The European Commission adopted today the new cross border cooperation programme ("Interreg") between Slovenia and Croatia, worth €55.6 million, with €46.1 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund. The programme primarily focuses on cross border initiatives to promote adaptation to climate change, natural risk prevention and the protection of biodiversity.

    Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu said: "This programme will help preserve and promote the rich natural resources on both sides of the border. The local communities will undoubtedly reap the economic benefits of an increased tourism flow."

    The programme will improve the management of cross border river basins. Small-scale infrastructure investments to clean river banks in cross border areas are foreseen. The programme will contribute to creating green jobs opportunities by preserving and restoring Natura 2000 habitats.

    More information:

    The European Commission adopted today the new cross border cooperation programme ("Interreg) "Germany/Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Brandenburg-Poland", worth €157.6 million euro, with more than €134 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund. Overall, three cross border cooperation programmes supported by EU Regional funds for 2014-2020 will cover the German-Polish border area.

    Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: "Investments under this programme will enable the Germany and Poland to enhance cross border cooperation, bringing many opportunities to both German and Polish citizens, particularly in terms of job creation and sustainable growth. There is no doubt this programme will contribute to improve the quality of the people's everyday life, on both sides of the border."

    The programme will address a variety of joint challenges and opportunities. First, the increased cooperation between public institutions on the Polish and German sides will contribute to reducing linguistic and socio-cultural barriers. The programme will also improve the existing cross border road connections and will support the preservation and promotion of the common cultural and natural heritage, in particular through joint tourism activities. Finally, the programme will provide for common training and education courses starting from pre-school to university, including life-long learning, hence contributing to building a qualified work force.

    More information:

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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 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