Commission welcomes the political agreement on the Interreg Regulation

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02/12/2020

Today, the Commission welcomed the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and EU Member States on the Commission’s proposal for post-2020 European Territorial Cooperation programmes (“Interreg”). This is the third file related to cohesion policy whose trilogue negotiations are concluded pending the final approval of the legal texts by the European Parliament Plenary and the Council. 

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I welcome today’s political agreement on the Interreg Regulation. This programme supports and facilitates territorial cooperation, with a view to overcoming formal and informal obstacles that prevent border regions from growing and developing to their full potential. It also facilitates cooperation of regions at external borders, addressing their specific development needs and contributing to a safer and more secure Europe. We are here at the heart of the European project”. 

With a budget of €8 050 million, the 6th generation Interreg will support cooperation between regions, citizens and economic stakeholders over their respective land and maritime borders. The new legislation will also cover the cooperation between regions at transnational level in the framework of the Macro regional and Sea basin Strategies: Baltic, Ionian/Adriatic and Black seas, Danube and Alps).

For the first time, a specific allocation will be dedicated to strengthening the cooperation of outermost regions with their neighbouring environment, such as the Caribbean regions, to stimulate economic exchanges among regional partners and their mutual development.

Interregional cooperation will also continue to promote exchange of expertise, good practices and capacity building through a dedicated set of programmes: Interreg Europe, Urbact, Interact and ESPON.

Equally important, the PEACE PLUS programme will continue in the 2021-2027 programming period the work of the ERDF-funded PEACE programme in order to support peace and reconciliation between the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland, through North-South cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement that provides the bedrock of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Moreover, territorial cooperation will be streamlined, benefiting in particular from the simplification measures agreed under the Common Provisions Regulation.

The main elements of today's compromise include:

  • The split of allocations for each specific strand:
    • EUR 5 800 million for cross border cooperation
    • EUR 1 467 million for transnational cooperation
    • EUR 500 million for interregional cooperation
    • EUR 270 million for outermost regions
  • A specific EU co-financing rate of 80%, increased to 85% for outermost regions, agreed upon in the Common Provisions Regulation
  • Provisions on thematic concentration, including an obligation to support measures contributing to the achievement of the European Green Deal as well as measures falling under the European Social Fund Plus Regulation, between internal land borders. They also encourage new specific objectives under Interreg, aiming in particular to make Europe safer and more secure
  • Flexibility provisions facilitating the support to small projects, including actions people to people
  • A complete and flexible set of support to technical assistance, tailored to the needs of each type of programme.

 Next steps

Following the political agreement of 10 November 2020 between the European Parliament, EU Member States in the Council as well as the Commission on the next long-term EU budget and NextGenerationEU, the legal adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) Regulation, the NextGenerationEU regulation along with the amendment of the Own Resources Decision is now urgently needed.

Once adopted, the EU’s long-term budget, coupled with the NextGenerationEU initiative, which is a temporary instrument designed to drive the recovery of Europe, will be the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget. A total of €1.8 trillion will help rebuild a post-coronavirus Europe. It will be a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe. 

Background

On 29 May 2018, the European Commission published a set of legislative proposals for EU cohesion policy post-2020, including a proposal for a Regulation on the post-2020 European Territorial Cooperation programmes (better known as “Interreg”). Interreg is one of the key instruments of the EU supporting cooperation across borders through project funding. Its aim is to jointly tackle common challenges and find shared solutions in fields such as health, environment, research, education, transport, sustainable energy and more. 

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