Future Interreg Europe Cooperation Programme 2021-2027
Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Webinar organised by the Interreg Europe Secretariat presenting the new DRAFT Cooperation Programme for the next programming period 2021-2027.
The new cooperation program maintains key features of the previous programme, but represents a slight evolution including novelties based on the new regulation, the experiences learned from the 258 projects selected for funding in 2014-2020, and a survey from Partner States. Here we summarize some of the most remarkable features and changes.
There is a decrease in the number countries involved from 30 to 29 and the increase of the available budget from 359 million Euro to 379 million Euro.
The overall rationale of the cooperation programme is to improve regional development policies (including Investment for Jobs and Growth programmes), through exchange of experiences, innovative approaches, and capacity building.
The programme is structured in one cross cutting priority on capacity building and one specific objective to enhance the institutional capacity of public authorities and relevant stakeholders with a broader scope (6 thematic areas).
Figure excerpted from the Presentation Public consultation: Interreg Europe 2021-2027 organised on 24 March 2021.
As an indication, Smarter Europe, Greener Europe and More Social Europe (labour markets, health care, culture and sustainable tourism) will receive 80% of the funds, while More Connected Europe, Europe Closer to citizens and More Social Europe (education, social inclusion, integration of third country nationals) will receive 20% of funding.
Another important change regards the link to European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programmes, which was a mandatory element for all Interreg Europe projects. The experience in 2014-20 has indicated the need to ease the obligation of linking the project to a certain number of ESIF programmes and the need to foster an effective link with regional policies in a broader sense.
Target groups and beneficiaries
Core target groups of the programme are policy responsible organisations:
Other bodies responsible for regional development policies
Other target groups: actors relevant to regional development policies like for example, business support organisations, environmental organisations or education and research institutes.
These target groups and other relevant actors (SMEs, for example) can also be involved in projects through regional stakeholder groups.
Considering the beneficiaries and the rate of co-financing there are no differences compared to the previous period:
Public authorities and bodies governed by public law (80% co-financing)
Private non-profit bodies (70% co-financing)
There is also a continuation in the type of actions funded by the cooperation programme:
Interregional cooperation projects: To improve through exchange of experience the implementation of the regional development policies of the participating regions. The cooperation projects, structured in 2 phases (Core phase + Follow up Phase), will have a lighter focus on Structural Funds Programmes and will allow to carry out pilot actions (learning by doing).
Policy Learning Platform: To facilitate policy learning and capitalisation of the regional policy good practices on an on-going basis, offering 4 main services:
o Good practice database
o Community of peers: meetings& networking
o Expert policy support: peer reviews, help desk…
o Knowledge hub: policy briefs & news
The new cooperation programme maintains the pan-European character, the main objectives (Improving regional development policies with the involvement of policy responsible organisations as core target group) and the key focus on capacity building.
At the same time, the new cooperation programme also presents some novelties, such as one single priority in the programme (capacity building) with an enlarged scope, a lighter focus on Structural Funds and facilitated pilot actions from the beginning, or platform services open to further development.
According to the information provided by the Interreg Secretariat, the approval of the programme by the Commission is expected in early 2022 and the launch of the first call for project proposals in the first semester 2022.