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)

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    Commissioners Crețu and Andriukaitis have brought together health professionals to kick-start the reflection on future EU investments in health under the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programmes.

    In the context of the roundtable held today at the Commission with health associations such as European Health Management Association and EuroHealthNet, the Commissioners launched a pilot project to improve cross-border emergency services in the Pyrenees between the border regions of France, Spain and the Principality of Andorra. They also announced that health will be this year’s new category for the RegioStars Awards.

    In the 2014-2020 programming period, over €8 billion of Cohesion Policy funds, including a €4 billion EU co-financing, has been invested in health. 44.5  million  people  in  the  EU  should  benefit  from  improved  health services over the 2014-2020 period.

    A full press release and factsheet are available here. You can also watch the Commissioners' press conference from this morning on EbS.

    On 30th of January 2019 the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) opened a new call for proposals under the pilot initiative b-solutions. Public bodies and cross-border structures can apply until 15th of March 2019 to present an obstacle encountered when implementing cross-border cooperation projects.

    The general aim of b-solutions is to identify obstacles of legal and administrative nature to allow for the development of innovative solution proposals strengthening cross-border cooperation. With the second call, AEBR and DG REGIO intend to capture a wider perspective on cross-border cooperation practices within the European Union.

    A total of 35 cases will be selected and assisted by a pool of experts in cross-border legal matters, in order to help finding ways to overcome the identified obstacles and foster the cooperation between border regions.

    The application form consists of some simple questions needed to understand the applicant’s identified obstacle.

    The implementation of the selected projects will last approximately 4 months, from the end of March 2019 to the end of July 2019.

    Under the firstand previous b-solutions call, AEBR and DG REGIO have already selected 10 cases which presented across-border obstacle of legal or administrative natureand the related proposed innovative solution. Details on the 10 awarded projects.

     With b-solutions, AEBR and DG REGIO are paving the way for innovative policies to foster a more and better-connected European Union!

    For further information visit the b-solutions website.

    Stay updated and visit the European Commission’s platform FUTURIUM-section “Boosting EU Border Regions”.

    Sparsely populated and remote areas face specific challenges that must be addressed urgently and with an integrated approach. In this regard, the Arctic region significantly experiences global warming faster than any other region. However, it does not have to be seen as a foregone conclusion. Rather, it is all the more reason to encourage cooperation across borders, in order to break such regions from isolation and devitalisation. 

    The Northern Periphery and Arctic Interreg programme funds innovative projects tackling these common challenges, precisely by linking regions and providing place-based solutions. The mainstreaming of climate change mitigation in the projects has therefore been a constant: it is a red thread guiding project implementers in their pursuit of their region’s sustainable development.

    Economic attractiveness, provision of fundamental services, resource efficient infrastructures, cultural dynamism, natural heritage, as well as social inclusion, feature well while sustainability is also taken in consideration. These selected projects show that on no account can the region’s environmental, social and economic potential be ignored. As such, the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme is resolutely looking to the future.

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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 28 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 28 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 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