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 autumn issue of Panorama magazine is now available to download, with a series of articles focussing on the 30th anniversary of Interreg. We explore how to make communications activities more environmentally friendly, reveal the results of a major survey on cross-border cooperation, and highlight young people’s contributions to the programmes. We also have full details of all the finalists and winners of this year’s Regiostars awards for the EU’s most innovative projects.

    Our country in focus this time is Latvia. Our exclusive interview with Jānis Reirs, Minister of Finance, explains how this Baltic state has implemented EU funding to deal with regional disparities, how it has reacted to the Covid-19 crisis, and their plans for a green and digital future in the 2021-2027 programming period.

    The In Your Own Words section features a contribution from the CESR in France, we have our regular Maps and Data Point sections, and the projects section visits Italy & Croatia, Cyprus & Greek islands, Réunion, and Finland.

    Panorama 74: Latvia building bridges to strengthen regional growth

    Today, the European Commission has published a declaration drafted by young people to contribute to improve the European territorial cooperation (Interreg) and a survey on the European citizens' awareness and concerns about cooperation in the border territories of the European Union, where one third of Europeans live. 

    This year marks 30 years of Interreg. The declaration, presented today during a youth debate at the Interreg Annual Event, provides suggestions to policy-makers about how to better use Interreg funding to meet young people's needs and expectations. It contains 12 recommendations and covers fives areas of concern, ranging from education and employment to climate change and access to EU funds.

    Among others, young people wish to be more involved in relevant EU-wide groups and networks, increase the knowledge of Interreg in schools and universities, have an easier access to the calls that have a dedicated budget for youth, and want to actively participate to the monitoring committee.

    The survey published today shows that cross-border mobility has improved by 3 percentage points since 2015, reaching 56% of citizens living in EU border regions. Moreover, 38% European citizens consider living in a border region an opportunity. The most mentioned reasons for crossing borders are leisure activities such as tourism (58%), followed by shopping for goods or services (34%).

    Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I warmly encourage all Interreg decision-makers to carefully read the Declaration and incorporate its recommendations in their daily efforts to improve the quality of life of citizens living in border areas. Young people deserve to influence political decisions that affect them. The survey we publish today also shows that more and more citizens live their lives across borders. This confirms that we must continue to support EU border areas with Interreg funds to improve the opportunities to grow together.”

    Two research institutes have launched an ERDF-funded project to develop the space industry in the Brandenburg-Lubuskie border area and encourage children to pursue studies in this field.

    The SpaceRegion project is combining German and Polish scientific excellence to foster long-term, cross-border cooperation; The aim is to design and test a robot prototype (a space manipulator) that will use an algorithm for steering.

    Another objective is to create a network of local industry leaders who want to participate in the space industry.

    The project partners are the Zielona Góra branch of the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics Institute in Frankfurt (Oder).

    The project partners plan to develop a programme of educational courses to stimulate young people’s interest in space-related studies. Other educational activities will include talks at local high schools and universities.

    Local governments will be informed about how space technologies can help provide solutions to real-life challenges.

    The project is financed by the EU under the INTERREG V A Brandenburg-Poland cooperation programme.

    Related links:

    Source article on on 18/09/2020


    Photo: © iStock/Alexyz3d

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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