Operational Programme 'Northern Periphery'

Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 28 September, The European Commission approved a Transnational Cooperation Programme between Ireland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with the participation of the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway for the 2007-2013 period.

The "Northern Periphery 2007-2013" Programme involves Community support for the following regions within the European Territorial Co-operation Objective framework:

Ireland: "Border, Midland and Western" (only the regions Donegal, Lietrim, Sligo, Galway and Mayo), "Southern and Eastern" (only the regions Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry);

Finland: "Itä-Suomi", "Pohjois-Suomi" and "Länsi-Suomi" (only the region Keski-Suomi);

Sweden: Mellersta Norrland and Övre Norrland;

United Kingdom: "North Eastern Scotland" (only the region "North East Moray"), "South Western Scotland" (only the region "Dumfries & Galloway"), "Highlands and Islands" and "Northern Ireland" (with the exception of the regions "Belfast" and "Outer Belfast").

The total budget of the programme is around €59 million. Community investment through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €35 million. The four non-Member States finance their own participation and provide another €10 million to the Programme in “ERDF equivalent funding”.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The Northern Periphery Programme applies to an area of great diversity that boasts considerable natural, cultural and human resources. Regions across the Programme area share similar opportunities and are faced with similar obstacles to development. The strategy for cooperation is based on a closer association in order to meet the objectives of the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies.

The Programme aims to help peripheral and remote communities in the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. This will be achieved through transnational collaboration in the fields of innovation, business competitiveness, accessibility, sustainable development, natural resources and cultural heritage.

2. Priorities

The "Northern Periphery Programme 2007-2013" contains four thematic fields of intervention for the transnational strand of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective:

  • promoting competitiveness by developing the capacity for innovation and networking in rural and peripheral areas;
  • facilitating development in the Programme area through the use of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as advanced transport systems;
  • strengthening synergies between environmental protection and economic growth;
  • contributing to a more sustainable development by improving urban-rural relations and by safeguarding regional heritage.

The following priorities represent the structure of the "Northern Periphery Programme 2007-2013":

Priority 1: Promoting innovation and competitiveness in remote and peripheral areas [approximately 56.4% of total amount of funding]

Specific objectives of this priority include:

  • exchange of best practice and creation of cooperative networks between research institutions and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This will increase the capacity for innovation, facilitate the development of systems for innovation and strengthen competitiveness;
  • creating transnational cooperation networks and transferring knowledge as a means to create and develop new innovative products;
  • cooperation and exchange of best practice between SMEs;
  • using ICT as a means for developing the Northern Periphery;
  • building on past experiences and networks to further enhance the development of road transport and other forms of public and private transport;
  • short sea shipping and intermodality, which is a comparative advantage for the Northern Periphery, taking into account the fact that there are many maritime and coastal regions situated in the area;
  • building the capacity to prevent and respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

Priority 2: Sustainable development of natural resources [approximately 37.6% of total amount of funding]

Specific objectives of this priority include:

  • efficient and sustainable management and use of resources;
  • analysing the possible implications of climate change and means of reducing them;
  • developing small-scale renewable energy solutions;
  • urban-rural partnerships;
  • cooperation and networks between private, public and voluntary sectors;
  • promoting the natural and cultural heritage in a way that benefits the development of sustainable industries.

Priority 3: Technical assistance [approximately 6.0% of total amount of funding]

The Programme will employ technical assistance during its implementation. Financial assistance will cover administration, monitoring and control.

3. Managing Authority

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Northern Periphery'

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
Promoting innovation and competitiveness in remote and peripheral areas 19 804 931 33 008 217 52 813 148
Sustainable development of natural resources 13 203 287 22 005 478 35 208 765
Technical assistance 2 106 908 4 213 816 6 320 724
Total 35 115 126 59 227 511 94 342 637