What is Interreg? 

Interreg is a synonym of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) and is part of the "Cohesion Policy" of the European Union, its regional policy. To put it simply, Interreg (or ETC) is a way to get European regions closer to each other and to boost their cooperation. 

The overarching objective of Interreg is to promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the European Union as a whole. Over the years, Interreg has become a key instrument 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.

First developed in 1990, Interreg celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020.


INTERREG "What Interreg has done?"

European Commission - EUinmyRegion

Interreg is built around three strands of cooperation:

1. Cross-border (Interreg A) for border regions (for example, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region in Italy and Primorska Region in Slovenia): it aims to tackle common challenges identified jointly in the border regions and to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas, while enhancing the cooperation process for the purposes of the overall harmonious development of the Union.

2. Transnational (Interreg B) involves regions from several countries of the EU forming bigger areas (for example, Portugal, Spain and Southern France): it aims to promote better cooperation and regional development within the Union by a joint approach to tackle common issues. This strand supports a wide range of project investment related to innovation, environment, accessibility, telecommunications, urban development etc.

3. Interregional (Interreg C) works at pan-European level, covering all EU Member States, and more. It builds networks to develop good practices and facilitate the exchange and transfer of experience by successful regions. It showcases what regions do well, to the benefit of those still investing.

Four macro-regional strategies have been adopted so far by the EU: the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (2009), the Danube Region (2010), the Adriatic and Ionian Region (2014) and the Alpine Region (2015).


These strategies deal with common challenges and opportunities identified in each macro-region. As intergovernmental initiatives, the implementation relies on the commitment of the participating countries.

Macro regions

Any Interreg Programme, National Authority and Project beneficiary can become an IVY host organisationFrom May 2019, also Interreg Programmes and Projects located in Switzerland, some countries members of the European Economic Area (EEA), namely Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and some countries involved in Pre-Accession Assistance Cross-border Co-operation Programmes (IPA-CBC), notably Serbia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Turkey, are eligible to host volunteers under the initiative “Interreg Volunteer Youth”.

As from January 2020, the initiative includes also countries involved in Neighbourhood Cross-border Co-operation Programmes (ENI-CBC), namely Algeria, Armenia, Belarus*, Georgia, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Republic of Moldova, Russia*, Tunisia and Ukraine. Programmes and Projects located in these countries can participate in the initiative.

*Following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the European Commission has suspended the cooperation with Russia and its ally Belarus in the European Neighbourhood Instrument cross-border cooperation programmes (ENI CBC). The decision includes also their participation in the IVY Programme, and therefore also the involvement of candidates from Belarus and Russia.

Find out more about Interreg here
Interreg 30 years Anniversary

The year 2020 marked 30 years since the start of Interreg,

the EU's emblematic programme that aims at encouraging territorial

cooperation between border regions. The Interreg 30 year campaign rolled out throughout 2020 under the themes: neighbours, green and youth. The campaign took stock of the past achievements and looked forward to what could be done more and better in the future.

For more information:

Statement from the European Commission

Factsheet: "Interreg: 30 years of cooperation across European borders in 2020"

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