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 new Interreg-IPA cross border programme adopted by the Commission will invest in the border regions of Croatia and Serbia for job creation and growth. Funding will be focused on improving the quality of public social and health services. Investments will also be targeted at the increased use of sustainable resources and at the cross border monitoring of environmental risks. Moreover, the programme will boost cross border tourism activity. Finally, funding will also be used to improve regional competitiveness by strengthening the links between businesses and research institutions.

    Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "Our cross border programmes provide concrete measures to improve the citizens' quality of life and offer new economic opportunities to the people living in the border regions of the European Union and its neighbours."

    The Interreg IPA CBC Croatia-Serbia programme covers 4 border regions in Croatia and 5 Serbian districts. It is worth more than €40 million, with a contribution of more than €34 million from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

    Some of the expected impacts include:

    • Improved quality of public health and social care services.
    • Better management of environmental and biodiversity protection and upgraded joint cross border management system for risk prevention.
    • Increased capacities for the development of sustainable energy by providing a platform for smart energy management and renewable energy use in public infrastructures, including in public buildings, and in the public housing sector.
    • An improved cross border tourism offer thanks to a better coordination between stakeholders in the tourism sector and to the development of joint tourism strategies, as well as action plans and studies on the preservation of cultural and natural heritages.
    • Improved competitiveness through the setup of business networks.

    More information:

    Boosting innovation and entrepreneurship, preserving the natural and cultural assets of the Danube region, improving the connectivity and supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy will form the key focus of the new "Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme" adopted today. 

    The Programme will support transnational cooperation projects in line with the priorities of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). Its geographical focus is identical to the area covered by the Strategy, involving regions of 9 EU countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and 3 non EU countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro). Moldova and Ukraine will also be eligible under the programme once the funding from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is settled. 

    Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy said: “I am delighted to adopt this programme today. The programme has been designed to directly contribute to the successful implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region through its thematic priorities and its support to the Strategy's governance. It should help the countries involved to develop projects with tangible and positive impact, which will enable them to remain attractive places to live, study, work, visit and invest in.” 

    The EU will invest more than €202 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and €19.8 million from the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) for transnational projects in the Danube basin territory. 

    The first call for proposals will be launched in the autumn of 2015. The kick-off event will take place on 23 and 24 September in Budapest.

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    The European Commission adopted today the new interregional cooperation programme ("Interact") between all EU Member States with the participation of Norway and Switzerland, worth around €40 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme is the knowledge hub for exchanging information, best practices and joint initiatives among the cooperation programmes funded under the ERDF.

    Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: "European regions are increasingly aware that cooperation is one good way of finding appropriate replies to the challenges that they have to face jointly, whether they are economic, environmental or social. By improving the results delivered under the cooperation programmes or by encouraging new forms of cooperation like the macro-regional strategies, the Interact programme will contribute to improving the efficiency of public policies." 

    The programme will mainly finance projects and actions which aim to improve the management and control capacity of European Territorial Cooperation programmes, as well as their capacity in capturing and communicating the programme results. The programme will also improve management capacity in implementing innovative cooperation approaches such as the European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation or the macro-regional strategies between partners coming from different countries and administrations in Europe.

    These actions and projects (co-financed by ERDF up to 85%) will be carried out by the Interact Secretariat in Bratislava (SK) and four Information offices in Turku (FI), Valencia (ES), Vienna (AT) and Viborg (DK).

    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