New EU Budget and proposal of Regulation for Interreg VI (2021-2027) :



 

A new generation of Interreg has been proposed by the EU Commission at the end of May after the proposal of a new EU budget (Multiannual Financial Framework) presented at the beginning of that month.

This proposed budget grows a bit, despite of Brexit and concentrates in more ambitious security policies, includes two new funds for reforms, keeps the level of investment in times of crisis, and adds a polemic clause linking the reception of funds to the respect of the rule of law. Anyway, several countries already showed their opposition to increase their contribution, while others agreed to do so. This proposal means less priority on cohesion and agriculture and more in migration, security and defence. It shows an effort on simplification and flexibility.

A first challenge was keeping Cohesion Policy, which faces a sensitive reduction, but keeps its core approach and will remain EU most powerful investment tool for the next programming period. #Cohesion Alliance has been quite successful and it will concentrate in the next months in reducing the proposed reduction, and try to avoid the proposed stronger link with the European Semester, coupled with certain simplification measures, and ending up excluding local actors from key decisions on investment planning and implementation.

Then, Territorial Cooperation is kept as a major chapter, but facing some changes. A first good news is that all CBC programmes (Interreg, IPA and Neighbourhood) will be managed with the same regulation under the coordination of DG Regio. Neighbourhood CBC will be financed by the new NDICI (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument). And, a specific programme will concentrate on Outermost Countries and Territories (OCTP). There is a proposal of Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) for all Structural Funds, and a specific one for Interreg (and other CBC programmes). Other funds and instruments also have their specific regulation. On the other hand, another regulation has been proposed to implement the Luxembourg initiative (legal instrument to let Member States to apply the legislation of another Member State in their territory).

The CPR allocates 330 Billion Euro to Cohesion Policy, of which 200 go ERDF. Interreg gets 8.4 Billion from ERDF (additional IPA and Neighbourhood funds will be allocated to further CBC programmes):

ERDF Resources (ERDF, ESF+ & CF) for Interreg VI

8 430

Component 1: CBC

52.7 %

4 440

Component 2: Transnational & Maritime Cooperation

31.4 %

2 650

Component 3: Outermost regions’ cooperation

3.2 %

270

Component 4: Interregional Cooperation

1.2 %

100

Component 5: Interregional Innovation Investments

11.5 %

970

(Million Euro)

There are five general Policy Objectives:

a)      a smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation;

b)      a greener, low-carbon Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate adaptation and risk prevention and management;

c)       a more connected Europe by enhancing mobility and regional ICT connectivity;

d)      a more social Europe implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights;

e)      a Europe closer to citizens by fostering the sustainable and integrated development of urban, rural and coastal areas and local initiatives.

It stresses the goals of (economic, social and territorial) Cohesion:

a)      Investment for jobs and growth in Member States and regions, to be supported by the ERDF, the ESF+ and the Cohesion Fund; and

b)      European territorial cooperation (Interreg), to be supported by the ERDF.

And it also highlights the objectives of “support for environment and climate”, as well as” the coordination, complementarity and coherence between the Funds and other Union instruments.”

Partnership Agreements are also included, and Integrated Territorial Development, Territorial Strategies, ITI (integrated territorial investments), community-led local development and local action groups are stressed. Regarding co-financing rates, they won’t be higher than 70% for Interreg programmes (except for external CBC programmes).

It is important to highlight the uncertainty created among maritime border regions, as maritime borders will be handled in a differentiated manner (integrated into the enlarged “transnational and maritime cooperation”), while Interreg concentrates on land borders.

Five components are proposed for Interreg VI, both through ERDF and external financing instruments (NDICI, IPA III and OCTP):

Component 1: CBC between adjacent regions to promote integrated regional development:

a)      internal CBC between adjacent land border regions

b)      external CBC, between adjacent land border regions of at least one Member State and of one or more of the following:

  1. IPA beneficiaries
  2. partner countries supported by NDICI
  3. the Russian Federation

Component 2: transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation over larger transnational (macro-regional) territories or around sea-basins, involving national, regional and local programme partners:

2A           where referring only to transnational cooperation

2B           where referring only to maritime cooperation

Component 3: outermost regions' cooperation

Component 4: interregional cooperation to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy by promoting:

  1. exchange of experiences, innovative approaches and capacity building in relation to:
  2. the implementation of Interreg programmes;
  3. the implementation of Investment for jobs and growth goal programmes, in particular with regard to interregional and transnational actions
  4. the setting-up, functioning and use of European groupings of territorial cooperation (EGTCs);
  5. analysis of development trends in relation to the aims of territorial cohesion;

Component 5: interregional innovation investments to encourage the development of European value chains.

Thematic concentration is foreseen, and people-to-people projects receive a stronger attention, with an own regulation for small-project funds within the specific Interreg one.

Border and cross-border regions should not lose the opportunity to pay a stronger attention to integrated territorial strategies and to migration issues.

 

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