Operational programme 'Spain - external borders 2008-2013' cross-border cooperation'

Programme in the context of the objective of European territorial cooperation


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On March 20, 2009, the European Commission approved the Operational Programme “Spain - External Borders 2008-2013 Cross-Border Cooperation Programme” in the context of the objective of European territorial cooperation between Spain and Morocco.
Its budget amounts to € 125,929,518 (the last contribution having been made to the annuity on 18 February 2011, until 2013). The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is providing a total of € 94,447,138 (75% co-financing).

The operative programme sets out the two eligible geographic areas of cooperation:

1. Strait area of cooperation: on the Spanish side it includes the provinces comprising the Autonomous Community of Andalusia (Almería, Granada, Málaga, Cádiz, Huelva, Sevilla, Córdoba and Jaén) and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. On the African side it includes the Tanger-Tetouan and Taza-Alhoceima Taounate regions as well as the Eastern Region.
2. Atlantic area of cooperation: includes the Canary Islands and the African regions of Guelmin-Es-Smara, Souss Massa Dràa and Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra.

1. Purpose of the programme

Cross-border cooperation between Spain and Morocco through European programmes had already begun to occur in the 2000-2006 budgetary period through the INTERREG IIIA Spain-Morocco programme.

The current programme aims to encourage cross-border local and regional initiatives and to promote transnational integrated territorial development, in accordance with European Community priorities; in addition it will support the exchange of interregional experiences.

The ultimate goal of the programme is to promote socio-economic development and to contribute to improving the structuring of cooperation efforts.

In order to do so the following objectives have been set out, which apply to both areas of cooperation:

  • Improve mobility and accessibility between the territories included in the areas of cross-border cooperation.
  • Develop the sustainable and integrated management of energy resources and of the environment.
  • Promote the natural and cultural heritage of the borderlands areas, in order to strengthen the local image and to encourage the development of new economic activities.
  • Strengthen cross-border business cooperation.
  • Promote trade, closer links and integration at the social, educational and cultural levels among the population of the border areas.
  • Strengthen the capacities of local and/or regional institutions and contribute to establishing a framework for common governance.

2. Expected outcome of investments

The programme activities intend for cooperation links to be established and for knowledge and mutual trust to be improved, so that exchanges are promoted and structuring is improved in business, environmental, cultural and social terms as well as encouraging the sustainable use of energy resources along with the promotion of cultural heritage.

The programme includes a series of performance and outcome indicators focused on the operational objectives of each of the areas of cooperation in order to assess the real impact of the programme.

3. Priorities

The programme has three priorities:

Priority 1: Strait cross-border cooperation area
  • Promote socio-economic development and improve territorial connectivity:
    Supporting cooperation in the fields of technological development and research and expanding the information society. The development of common plans and the use of renewable energy sources should be promoted with the aim of achieving socio-economic and business dynamism.
  • Promote environmental sustainability and risk prevention:
    This priority focuses on environmental sustainability and on the use of renewable energy sources. It promotes the improvement of the quality of natural areas and acts to prevent risks.
  • Value heritage, encourage cultural dialogue, cooperation in youth education and the integration of immigrants:
    This priority area intends to promote cultural, historic and ethnographic heritage as well as the local identity. It also supports cooperation efforts in the fields of mobility, vocational training and youth education. In addition, it will encourage the integration of immigrants while strengthening border cooperation networks.
  • Promote improved conditions to ensure the mobility of people, goods and capital in the border area:
    Promote economic, social and cultural development by encouraging the flow of people and goods between territories. Support is provided to improve border management systems and facilities.
Priority 2: Atlantic cross-border cooperation area
  • Support the socio-economic development of the cross-border territory:
    Improve connectivity and the development of the transport infrastructure while developing territorial planning in order to promote tourism. Entrepreneurship is also encouraged and SMEs are supported.
  • Promote environmental sustainability in the border regions:
    Preserve the environment and develop the sustainable management of water and energy resources.
  • Strengthen institutional educational and cultural cooperation:
    Strengthening socio-cultural, institutional and educational cooperation is essential to developing an area of stable and lasting cooperation.
Priority 3: Technical support for the joint management of the programme
  • Support activities related to the preparation, monitoring, internal management, audit and control of the projects.
  • Improve the quality of the implementation of projects, supporting the final beneficiaries involved.
  • Carry out outreach and distribution activities to ensure that adequate information reaches potential final beneficiaries, the target population and the general public.
  • Encourage independent evaluations of cooperation projects to be carried out.

Financial and Technical information

Operational programme 'Spain - external borders 2008-2013' cross-border cooperation'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Strait cross-border cooperation area 73 664 014 19 643 738 93 307 752
Atlantic cross-border cooperation area 15 116 298 4 031 014 19 147 312
Technical support for joint management 5 666 826 1 888 942 7 555 768
Total 94 447 138 25 563 694 120 010 832