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)

Additional tools



    The European Commission has announced the 25 finalists of the 2020 RegioStars competition for the best EU Cohesion policy projects.

    They competed in 5 categories:

    • “Industrial transition for a smart Europe”
    • “Circular economy for a green Europe”
    • “Skills & education for a digital Europe”
    • “Citizen engagement for cohesive European cities”
    • and the specific for 2020 “Youth empowerment for cooperation across border - 30 years of Interreg”.

    As of today, the public is encouraged to vote for their favourite project until 15 September.

    Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, commented: “This year we have received the highest number of RegioStars applications ever - 206. This shows the growing value of this competition which puts EU cohesion policy best practices in the spotlight and rewards committed project beneficiaries for their excellent implementation of EU funding on the ground.”

    An independent jury has selected five finalists per category among the 206 high-quality applications received. In particular, the jury has selected projects located in: Austria, Belgium, Croatia,  Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and different InterregProgrammes : “North Sea”,  “Channel”, “North-West Europe”, “Baltic Sea Region, the Northern Periphery and Artic Programme”,  “Nord and ENI CBC Poland-Russia” , “North-West Europe”,  “Central Europe”, “Europe”, “Germany-Czechia”, “Lithuania-Poland”, and IPA Croatia-Serbia.

    The RegioStars 2020 5-category winners and the winner of the Public Choice Award will be announced on 14 October 2020 during the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.

    Full list of finalists

    The summer issue of Panorama magazine is now available to download, with a main article featuring the EU’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. We examine the Coronavirus Investment Initiative Plus, as well as other financial instruments, and profile projects tackling the issues head on on the ground. Data Point shows in a more general way how Cohesion Policy helps regions invest in healthcare.

    Our region in focus this time is Emilia-Romagna in Italy. This region combines history and tradition with innovation, and Regional President Stefano Bonaccini tells us how in an exclusive interview. In celebrating 30 years of Interreg we look at its contribution to the Green Deal through a variety of successful environmental projects. We take a look at the work of the audit community, and celebrate North Macedonia joining the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

    The In Your Own Words section features a contribution from Eurocities, there’s a preview of this year’s EU Regions Week. The projects section visits Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and the UK.

    Happy Reading! 

    Panorama 73: Emilia-Romagna in line for a smarter future



    All along 2020, the Interreg community celebrates 30 years of Interreg and cooperation in all its shapes. In this virtual exhibition you will understand why Interreg is at the heart of the European spirit and how it encourages regions and countries to tackle challenges they can solve only by working together.

    Interreg is already tackling climate change and contributes to a greener Europe, Interreg encourages young people to find their way to work or study abroad and supports initiatives to learn their neighbours’ language or to volunteer in projects, Interreg facilitates everyone to commute from a country to another, to find jobs in the border regions of Europe or outside the EU, or to access the closest public services to their homes. 

    The celebrations throughout 2020 will provide the opportunity to demonstrate the achievements so far, but also the chance to focus on the future by launching the debate on cooperation policy post 2020 as we are entering a crucial phase to shape the future of the programming period.

    It is time to question, to re-think, and to give a new breath to what we consider as a fundamental value in the European Union: cooperating between people, regions, and countries close to us.

    At a time when the European Union is facing a lot of changes, when political dialogue often questions its functioning, when new European leaders and new priorities are emerging, Interreg has been acting now for 30 years to leave no one behind and to build Europe brick-by-brick.

    Interreg 30 years virtual exhibition

    Interreg 30 years e-book


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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).

  • 60 Cross-border – Interreg V-A, along 38 internal EU borders. ERDF contribution: EUR 6.6 billion.
  • 15 Transnational – Interreg V-B, covering larger areas of co-operation such as the Baltic Sea, Alpine and Mediterranean regions, as well as some non-EU countries. ERDF contribution: EUR 2.1 billion.
  • The interregional co-operation programme, INTERREG Europe, and 3 networking programmes (Urbact III, Interact III and ESPON) covering all Member States of the EU, as well as Norway and Switzerland and in case of URBACT also Iceland and Lichtenstein. They provide a framework for exchanging experience between regional and local bodies in different countries. ERDF contribution: EUR 500 million.

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 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 May 22-23 2019

Interreg Annual Meeting June 18-19 2018

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