Operational Programme 'Madeira - Açores - Canarias'

Programme under the European territorial cooperation objective co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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The European Commission approved on 18 September 2007 a European territorial cooperation programme for transnational cooperation between the archipelagos of Madeira and Açores (Portugal) and the Canary Island (Spain) for the period 2007-2013, the "Transnational Cooperation Programme Madeira-Açores-Canarias (MAC) 2007-2013".

This programme involves Community support for the 3 NUTS II Atlantic island areas in the participating countries, within the framework of the European territorial cooperation objective. The total budget of the programme is around EUR 65 million and the Community investment through the ERDF amounts to around EUR 55 million.

The programme affects a population of about 2.4 million people (2005) living in an eligible area of 10.597 Km².

1. The purpose and aim of the programme

The adopted transnational cooperation programme is the second one affecting this area; the first one was in the framework of the INTERREG Community Initiative for the period 2000-2006.

It is important to signal the specificity of this programme, focused on the cooperation of three outermost island regions in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with one of them, the Canary Islands, geographically closer to Africa than to Europe. This situation provides the programme with a strong orientation not only for cooperation among the partner regions, but also with third countries of their geographic surroundings and with other Community outermost regions.

In this context, the long term objective of the programme is not only to increase the level of cooperation between Madeira, Açores and Canarias and their integrated development, but also to enlarge the natural area of socio-economic and cultural influence of the three archipelagos and to increase the possibilities for exchanges with their geographic entourage. This later activity will be carried out in a coordinated manner with other Community external cooperation instruments, namely the European Development Fund (EDF).

The specific objectives of the programme, to be developed to attain its final objective are:

  • the promotion of Research, Development and Innovation (R&D+I) in order to reduce the relative retard of the three regions in this aspect with relation with the continent;
  • to increase the level of protection and to improve the management of coastal areas and marine resources;
  • the sustainable management of hydraulic resources, energy (in particular renewable) and waste;
  • the prevention of risks and natural disasters (seismic, volcanoes, maritime, climatic, etc);
  • the promotion of the development of third countries in the geographic area; and
  • to strengthen the institutional cooperation capacity of the intervening agents (public and private) of the three regions and participating third countries.

2. The expected impact of the programme

The INTERREG III B programme in this area in the period 2000-2006 meant the first experience of cooperation between three regions with common problems who had never before worked together. The programme facilitated for the three regions the development of joint projects in a wide range of matters, with the participation of all types of partners and institutions, which mean a new and innovative experience of exchanges of knowledge and experience in this cooperation space. To this it should be added the participation of third countries in 27 % of the projects financed by the programme.

The good results achieved by the previous programme regarding the establishment of effective cooperation between the partners of the participating regions and third countries shall continue with a further intensification of the cooperation and the concentration on a few, selected, thematic priorities.

A series of indicators, at programme and priority level will permit to monitor and quantify the programme performance and the level of accomplishment of its objectives.

3. Priorities

The "Transnational Cooperation Programme Madeira-Açores-Canarias (MAC) 2007-2013" is structured into the following priorities:

Priority 1: Promotion of research, technological development, innovation and the information society

Specific objectives of this priority are:

  • the development of research, innovation and technological development lines of direct application to the productive tissue of the territories concerned;
  • development of transnational cooperation networks for technological and scientific transfer; and
  • promotion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in order to reduce the problems related to the fragmentation of the territory and the large distances in the cooperation area and with the continent.

Priority 2: Strengthening of environmental management and risk prevention

Specific objectives are:

  • the prevention of risks and natural disasters (seismic, volcanoes, maritime, climatic, etc);
  • sustainable management of hydraulic resources, energy and waste;
  • protection and management of coastal zones and marine resources; and
  • maritime and coastal safety.

Priority 3: Cooperation with third countries and application of the wider neighbourhood principle

Specific objectives of the priority are:

  • to promote the development of a common space for growth and integration at economic, social and cultural level between the three Macaronesian regions and neighbouring third countries through cooperation activities leading to common benefit;
  • to help to the establishment of stable links for institutional cooperation;
  • to become a pilot experience for territorial cooperation between the European Union and third countries, through the establishment of operative coordination procedures between different funds (ERDF and EDF); and
  • to strengthen the role of outermost regions as a platform for territorial cooperation between the European Union and neighbouring countries.

These objectives will materialise in joint projects with third countries, some of them financed exclusively through ERDF, and others with partners of ACP countries; this will imply the coordination between ERDF and EDF funding in the framework of the wider neighbourhood policy.

Priority 4: Technical assistance

There is also provision for technical assistance in order to implement the programme. Financial support is available covering administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Madeira - Açores - Canarias'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Promotion of research, technological development, innovation and the information society 18 129 343 3 199 294 21 328 637
Strengthening of environmental management and risk prevention 9 941 110 1 754 313 11 695 423
Cooperation with third countries and application of the wider neighbourhood principle 24 000 000 4 235 294 28 235 294
Technical assistance 3 323 646 586 525 3 910 171
Total 55 394 099 9 775 426 65 169 525