Interreg is a series of five programmes to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The first Interreg started in 1989. Interreg IV covered the period 2007–2013. Interreg V (2014-2020) covers all 28 EU Member States, 3 participating EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein), 6 accession countries and 18 neighbouring countries. It has a budget of EUR 10.1 billion, which represents 2.8% of the total of the European Cohesion Policy budget.[1] Since the non EU countries don't pay EU membership fee, they contribute directly to Interreg, not through ERDF.

Aims of the programme

Evolution of INTERREG 1990-2020

Interreg is designed to stimulate cooperation between member states of the European Union on different levels. One of its main targets is to diminish the influence of national borders in favor of equal economic, social and cultural development of the whole territory of the European Union.

The Interreg initiative is designed to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion throughout the European Union, by fostering the balanced development of the continent through cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation. Special emphasis has been placed on integrating remote regions with those that share external borders with the candidate countries.


Interreg was launched as Interreg I for the programming period 1989–1993 (budget EUR 1.1 billion), and continued as Interreg II for the subsequent period 1994–1999. It moved on to Interreg III for the period 2000–2006. Projects from that closed by the end of 2008. Interreg IV is currently operational, covering 2007–2013.

Interreg differs from the majority of Cohesion Policy programmes in one important respect: it involves a collaboration among authorities of two or more Member States. Interreg measures are not only required to demonstrate a positive impact on the development on either side of the border but their design and, possibly, their implementation must be carried out on a common cross-border basis.

Once the Operational Programmes have been approved by the European Commission, the implementation of the programmes is co-ordinated by steering committees, which consist of representatives of the authorities responsible for Cohesion Policy measures in each member state. These can be both central state agencies and regional agencies. Like almost all Cohesion Policy measures, Interreg projects require co-funding to be provided by Member States, regional authorities or the project leaders themselves. The amount of co-funding required differs by region, ranging from 50% down to 0% in the poorest regions.

The final beneficiaries of Interreg funds are usually public authorities, interest associations and non-profit organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employer organisations, unions or research institutes. Under Interreg IV, private firms are only eligible if they apply through a consortium of several firms; in previous programme periods, they were not eligible at all.


Interreg is made up of three strands: Interreg A, Interreg B and Interreg C.[2] They are described in more detail below.[3]

Strand A: cross-border cooperation

Cross-border cooperation between adjacent regions aims to develop cross-border social and economic centres through common development strategies. The term cross-border region is often used to refer to the resulting entities, provided there is some degree of local activity involved.[4] The term Euroregion is also used to refer to the various types of entities that are used to administer Interreg funds. In many cases, they have established secretariats that are funded via technical assistance: the Interreg funding component aimed at establishing administrative infrastructure for local Interreg deployment. Interreg A is by far the largest strand in terms of budget and number of programmes.

Strand B: transnational cooperation

Transnational cooperation involving national, regional and local authorities aim to promote better integration within the Union through the formation of large groups of European regions. Strand B is the intermediate level, where generally non-contiguous regions from several different countries cooperate because they experience joint or comparable problems. There are 13 Interreg IVB programmes.

Strand C: interregional cooperation

Interregional cooperation aims to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and instruments through large-scale information exchange and sharing of experience (networks). This is financially the smallest strand of the three, but the programmes cover all EU Member States.

Interreg III

Strand A: cross-border cooperation

Priorities for action in strand IIIA were:

Examples of Interreg IIIA programmes

Strand B: transnational cooperation

Proposals for transnational cooperation under IIIB had to take account of:

Within this context, the priorities for action wereas follows:

In the specific case of ultra-peripheral regions, transnational cooperation encourages the following initiatives:

Examples of Interreg IIIB projects

Strand C: interregional cooperation

Interreg IIIC promoted interregional co-operation between regional and other public authorities across the entire EU territory and neighbouring countries. It allowed regions without joint borders to work together in common projects and develop networks of co-operation.

Co-operation under Interreg IIIC gave access to experience of other actors involved in regional development policy and created synergies between "best practice" projects and the Structural Fund's mainstream programmes. The overall aim was to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and instruments through large-scale information exchange and sharing of experience (networks) in a structured way.

Priorities for action included research, technology development, enterprise, the information society, tourism, culture, and the environment.

Examples of Interreg IIIC projects

Interreg IV

Interreg IV has a budget of almost 7,8 billion euro (2006 prices), up from 4,9 billion euro in Interreg III (1999 prices).

Strand A: cross-border cooperation

The A strand of Interreg IV covers 52 programmes, which use up to 74% of all resources (some 5,6 billion euros).

Examples of Interreg IVA projects

WINSENT provides a networking opportunity and free assistance, guidance and a range of supports to any social entrepreneur or social enterprise based in Dublin and surrounds in Ireland or based in North Wales in the counties of Denbighshire and the Isle of Anglesey, including opportunities to network with other like minded “change agents” through the WINSENT Networks: and WISEA

Strand B: transnational cooperation

Interreg IVb is divided into thirteen different Operational Programmes (OPs).[6] Each OP is led by a Secretariat and covers a specific part of the EU territory. All Member States can participate in Interreg IVB, but only if an organisation or authority is located in the eligible area of one of the programmes (Annex 1). IVB has a total budget of 1,82 billion euro for the programme period 2007–2013.

List of the Interreg IVb programmes:

Examples of Interreg IVB projects

Strand C: interregional cooperation

Strand C covers the interregional co-operation programme (INTERREG IVC) and 3 networking programmes (URBACT II, INTERACT II and ESPON). Each programme covers all 27 Member States of the EU. ESPON covers 31 states; Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland an Switzerland are included at well. They provide a framework for exchanging experience between regional and local bodies in different countries. Strand C has an ERDF contribution of 445 million euros. The non-EU countries contribute fully their shares to these programs.

Examples of Interreg IVC projects

See also


External links

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