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European Territorial Cooperation

What is European Territorial Cooperation?

"More growth and jobs for all regions and cities of the European Union": This is the message which is at the heart of the programming period 2007-2013 for the European Union’s Cohesion Policy and its instruments.

Within this framework, Cohesion Policy encourages regions and cities from different EU Member States to work together and learn from each other through joint Programmes, projects and networks. During the Programming Period 2007-2013 European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) has been introduced as a fully-fledged objective of Cohesion Policy, along with Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment and provides a framework for exchanging experience between regional and local bodies in different countries.

With a Community contribution of almost €7.8 billion for the sole internal borders, and approximately €9.4 billion by adding IPA-CBC and ENPI-CBC funding, territorial cooperation has reached a new scale and now comprehends 75 cross-border Programmes  (including external EU borders), 13 transnational Programmes, one interregional Programme and the three networking Programmes URBACT, ESPON and INTERACT.

Which are the three 3 dimensions of European Territorial Cooperation?

  • Cross-border Cooperation: helps transform regions located on either side of internal or external borders of the European Union into strong economic and social poles. In particular, cross-border actions are encouraged in the fields of entrepreneurship, improving joint management of natural resources, supporting links between urban and rural areas, improving access to transport and communication networks, developing joint use of infrastructure, administrative cooperation and capacity building, employment, community interaction, culture and social affairs. Cross-border cooperation is essentially about "filling the gaps". It does so through agreed cross-border “analysis and response” strategies, specifically formulated and tailored for each border region.
  • Transnational Cooperation: promotes cooperation among greater European regions, including the ones surrounding sea basins (e.g. Baltic Sea Region, North Sea, Mediterranean and Atlantic Area) or mountain ranges (e.g. Alpine Space) and facilitates coordinated strategic responses to joint challenges like flood management, transport and communication corridors, international business and research linkages, urban development and others. Special attention is given to outermost and island regions (e.g. Indian Ocean, Caribbean Area or Northern Periphery).
  • Interregional Cooperation: provides a framework for the exchange of experiences between local and regional actors from across Europe in order to contribute to the EU’s strategies on growth, jobs and sustainable development. In addition, it aims at reducing disparities by matching less experienced regions with more advanced regions in the various policy fields such as innovation, demographic change, energy supply and climate change.

What does IPA mean and what is its cross-border cooperation component?

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is the unified European Union’s  financial instrument aimed at aiding the Pre-Accession process for Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries, also called "Beneficiary countries". It brings all past pre-accession support (Phare CBC, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS, etc.) into one single funding instrument. Funds are allocated through five components:

  • Transition Assistance and Institution Building;
  • Cross- Border Cooperation;
  • Regional Development;
  • Human Resources Development;
  • Rural Development.
  • The Cross-border Cooperation component of IPA promotes:
  • Cooperation between EU Member States and Candidate/ Potential Candidate Countries,
  • Cooperation between Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries themselves and
  • Participation of IPA beneficiary countries in Structural Funds' transnational cooperation Programmes (South East Europe and MED Programmes).

What are the objectives of the cross-border cooperation strategy within ENPI and which way is the ENPI cross-border cooperation approach implemented?

With the aim of reinforcing cooperation between member states and partner countries along the external border of the European Union, Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) is a key priority of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The key objectives of the CBC strategy are to:

  1. Promote economic and social development in border areas,
  2. Address common challenges,
  3. Ensure efficiency and secure orders,
  4. Promote people-to-people cooperation.

The ENPI CBC approach is based on the principles of multiannual programming, partnership and co-financing and takes into account the specificities of the EC's external relations. Programmes involving regions on both sides of the EU's border share one single budget, common management structures, a common legal framework and implementation rules. The Programmes’ structure is based on a fully balanced partnership between the participating countries. The Programmes are managed by an EU Member State regional or national authority.

crossborder-cooperation transnational-cooperation
Crossborder Cooperation Transnational Cooperation