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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    The European Commission has approved the modifications of the ‘Innovation and Sustainable Growth in Businesses' programme in Denmark and of the Interreg Hungary-Slovakia programme. Thanks to the modifications, the two programmes will allocate additional resources to address the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

    Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira,said: “From the Danube river to the North Sea swift action under Cohesion policy is mobilising resources and people to fight the pandemic. There is no time to waste and I look forward to seeing more programmes modified according to current needs in the following weeks.” 

    The modification of the Interreg Slovakia-Hungary programme will increase temporarily the EU co-financing rate to 100% of eligible expenditure, thus helping beneficiaries overcome liquidity scarcity in the implementation of their projects.

    In Denmark, the modification of the “Innovation and Sustainable Growth in Businesses” programme will extend financing to companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic to restructure and consolidate themselves. The modification will also improve cooperation between large companies and SMEs in green transition, thus helping the later overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic in maintaining the green transition and implementing green business models.

    The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative packages, proposed by the Commission in March and April this year, made the modification of the two programmes possible. So far, 18 Member States have adjusted their Cohesion policy programmes to redirect funding towards fighting the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Regions of Europe are partnering up with us to run a series of regional campaigns with an ultra-local flavour and with a smile! In 2020, this communication campaign will showcase new regions and new countries: France, Greece, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. Check this page to find out what happened between 2018 / 2019 as well as the upcoming campaigns in 2020.

    In Grenspark Groot Saeftinghe, agriculture, port and nature do not only live side by side, but beautifully together. With the support of the EU, nature is protected and developed here by residents, farmers and companies. They also make the area more attractive and make the region benefit from an economic and social impulse. Everyone can enjoy birds, creeks and ships here on the way to Antwerp.

    More information

    The purpose of the consultation process is to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views on the future Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) initiative.

    The objective is to collect contributions for further developments of the new instrument. It will help to collect views on the specific aspects (priority areas for investment, links with EU priorities, implementation mechanisms, type of support, investment readiness etc).

    The inputs received from the stakeholders will help REGIO to shape:

    - the multiannual Work Programme (topics for the calls of the 2 strands of the new instrument)

    - the role of MS/regions/ networks and other triple helix stakeholders in the governance

    - how to involve different categories of regions (outermost, lagging, leading regions)

    - how to activate synergies with mainstream programmes and other EU funding programmes

    The 2021-2027 period will seek to reinforce interregional cooperation for innovation as outlined in the Commission Communication “Strengthening Innovation in Europe’s regions”.

    In this context, the Commission proposed a new Interregional Innovation Investment initiative[1] aimed at helping actors involved in smart specialisation strategies (S3) to cluster together, scale up and bring innovation to the European market.

    The new I3 Instrument should be implemented under ERDF with an indicative EU budget of EUR 0,5 bn. The ambition is to mobilise public private investment, leveraging the impact of the available budget. The objectives of the new initiative are:

    • Accelerating innovation and transfer of research results, translating innovation into concrete products, services and applications, responding to a clear need of customers and citizens.
    • Encouraging close-to-market investments involving innovative products and services through the deployment of new technologies or processes. While the value chain to be developed may be in traditional sectors, as a minimum the product or process should be new to
    • Bringing research results to the market helping companies to implement mature joint innovation projects (TRL6-8) in view of commercialization and scaling up
    • Exploring and strengthening complementarities between different EU, national and regional instruments,
    • Mobilising public/private investors, de-risking private investment and leveraging the impact of EU funding.
    • Developing a pipeline of interregional investments, formalised in concrete business and investment plans, reshaping EU value chains.

    I3 intends to support regional innovation stakeholders, well integrated in the regional innovation ecosystems, providing funding for mature joint innovation projects organised in value-chain investment portfolios.

    Structure of the new instrument

    I3 proposal foresees two strands with an approximately equal share of financial resources:

    • Strand 1 targeting well-developed ecosystems and focusing on the part of the value chains where weakness or market failures are identified (fragmentation, insufficient interconnection, financial or technological gap, interregional valley of death for the uptake of innovative technologies) and a solution could come from the interregional triple/quadruple helix cooperation.
    • Strand 2 targeting less developed regions and focusing on reinforcing the regional innovation ecosystems, unlocking under utilised capacities, which could reinforce EU value chains.

    What does I3 want to achieve?

    -  More interregional industrial cooperation mobilised via bottom up mechanisms and unlocking the innovation potential highlighted by RIS 3 strategies.

    Strengthening the EU on the global stage, investing in strategic and future-oriented business areas where, boosting EU competitive advantage can generate growth (across industrial sectors, value chains and regions) 

    -  Synergies and complementarities with other initiatives at EU, national and regional level

    View the questionnaire

    Consultation Period

    From 30.07.2020 to 30.09.2020
    Due to the deadlines for the follow-up steps, we regret all replies received after the closing date will not be able to be considered.

    Results of the public consultation

    Results of the stakeholders’ consultation will be published on INFOREGIO website:


    More information about the consultation.


    [1] Called “Component 5” under ETC Regulation

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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