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 Interreg Annual Meeting will take place this year in Malta, from Wednesday 26 April afternoon to Friday 28 April at lunchtime. It will be kicked off by the Opening remarks of DG REGIO Deputy Director-General Normunds Popens and of Mr Raphael Scerri, Director General of the Fund and Programme Division of the Ministry of the European Affairs of Malta. An intense agenda will follow: two plenary sessions for the first afternoon, four parallel workshops on the morning of 27 april, three study visits in the afternoon of the same day and two panel discussions in the morning of 28 april.!

    Have a look at the detailed agenda.

    Do you want to be part of it, even if you are not there? Follow the webstreaming of the plenary sessions on 26 and 28 April!

    Our first issue of 2017 heralds a double celebration – it is 10 years since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU and a lot has changed during that time. Panorama takes a closer look at how being part of the Union has benefited the countries and their citizens. Our in-depth feature focuses on Western Greece where Cohesion Policy is supporting this region, which has huge potential, by rolling out a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

    A recent report reveals that countries must work together to tackle global challenges that know no borders. Four macro-regional strategies are making an impact on the ground by helping both EU and non-EU countries to combine efforts on cross-cutting issues.

    Our interview with Dr Ian Borg, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds, looks at how the country is managing the Presidency and benefiting from Cohesion Policy support.

    There is also an article on the new streamlined appraisal for major projects plus details of how Poland is making the most of the investment opportunities provided by EU funding.

    ‘In Your Own Words’ includes contributions from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and South Aegean and the picture spread points the camera at project across Belgium’s three regions.

    Panorama 60: Bulgaria and Romania celebrate 10 years in the EU

    Europe, which celebrates the 60 year anniversary of its founding treaties on Saturday, 25 March, is working harder than ever to build its shared future and the future of its youth. In this context the EU saw the arrival of first volunteer from the European Solidarity Corps, Manon, a 22 year old French woman, this week in Budapest, Hungary. Other participants are due to arrive soon. As part of the Interreg Volunteers initiative, one of the participating programmes of the European Solidarity Corps, Manon will be in charge of communicating the results of the Danube cooperation programme to the general public, to encourage European cross-border cooperation. Beyond the joint projects for research, protecting heritage and culture, and social integration, the young volunteer will be promoting the European values of exchange, solidarity and unity. Since it was launched last December, 25 000 young Europeans have joined the European Solidarity Corps. Since the opening of the database to organisations two weeks ago, over 2 200 participants have been contacted by 36 organisations and 19 of them have already received a concrete offer.

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In 1990, 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 besides investment for Growth and Job.

Interreg evolution

The 25th anniversary of Interreg has been celebrated in 2015 with a variety of events around Europe. 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.

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 April 26-28 2017

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