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 a new cross-border cooperation programme for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro worth around €67 million, with €57 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.

    The programme aims to improve the quality of common public services in the region, to promote the development of sustainable tourism activities and to boost the competitiveness of local businesses.      

    The programme will also help reach the objectives of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy, of the EU macro-regional Strategy for the Danube Region and of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.   

    The five main priorities of the programme are:

    1. Improving the quality of services in public health and social care in the programme area.
    2. Protecting the environment, improving risk prevention and promoting energy efficiency.
    3. Contributing to the development of tourism and to the preservation of the region's cultural and natural heritage.
    4. Enhancing the economic competitiveness of the region
    5. Providing technical assistance to increase the efficiency of the management and implementation of the Programme.

    More information:

    The Commission adopted today the 2014-2020 Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme, worth €185.3 million with a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund of €140 million. Fostering innovation, promoting a resource-efficient economy, protecting the Atlantic territory against risks of natural and human origin and promoting the natural and cultural assets are the key focuses of the programme.

    The programme promotes cooperation between 38 regions from 5 EU Member States: France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom, including the outermost regions of the Canary Islands (Spain) and the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira (Portugal).

    The programme's four priorities are:

    1. Boosting innovation and competitiveness, accelerating smart growth;
    2. Fostering a resource-efficient economy, promoting the use of renewable energies
    3. Strengthening the territory's resilience to risks of natural, climate and human origin, Supporting a better protection and management of the territory;
    4. Protecting the biodiversity and promoting the cultural and natural assets of the region

    More information:

    Commissioner Creţu discusses partnership and collaboration in new episode of “Real Economy”.

    EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu is this week’s guest on the Euronews show “Real Economy”.

    During her sit-down with the show’s host Maithreyi Seetharaman, Commissioner Creţu discusses how partnership and collaboration can breathe a new lease of life into the European economy and can help to address some of the biggest issues we face today.

    The show then takes us on the road, to discover two examples of how this works in practice:

    • Liverpool uses partnership to help boost its local economy to regain some of the city’s lost glory – and the results are showing!
    • In Portugal, collaboration is being reinforced thanks to URBACT, a collaboration initiative which helps cities facing similar challenges but also opportunities, to come together .

    Real Economy - Partnering to grow Europe

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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