1. Legal basis
The Interreg Europe programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), whose principles and regulations are laid down in Council and Parliament Regulation N°1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation), Council and Parliament Regulation N° 1301/2013 (ERDF Regulation) and Council and Parliament Regulation N° 1299/2013 (ETC Regulation). The principles and regulations for projects developed within the programme are laid down in the Cooperation Programme and in the programme manual.
The European Union works to reduce disparities in the levels of development, growth and quality of life in European regions through its cohesion policy. For the 2014-2020 funding period, cohesion policy concentrates on supporting the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy to promote actions to make the European territory more innovative, more sustainable, and more inclusive. The Interreg Europe programme contributes to this objective by supporting policy learning among relevant policy organisations with a view to improving the performance of regional development policy instruments.
A policy instrument is a means for public intervention. It refers to any policy, strategy, or law developed by public authorities and applied on the ground in order to improve a specific territorial situation. In most cases, financial resources are associated with a policy instrument. However, an instrument can also sometimes refer to a legislative framework with no specific funding. In the context of Interreg Europe, operational programmes for Investment for Growth and Jobs and Cooperation Programmes from European Territorial Cooperation are considered as policy instruments, as well as other regional development policies developed at local, regional or national level.
Interreg Europe aims to improve the implementation of policy instruments, in particular programmes for Investment for Growth and Jobs and, where relevant, European Territorial Cooperation programmes, through exchange of experiences and policy learning among actors of regional relevance. The way partners involved in projects can improve their policy instruments is further explained in section 4.3.1 of the programme manual.
3. Eligible area
The eligible Interreg Europe cooperation area covers the whole territory of the European Union with its 28 Member States, including insular and outermost areas. In addition, Norway and Switzerland are full members of the programme and organisations from these countries are welcome to participate in projects (organisations from Switzerland cannot be Lead Partner). Partners from other countries can participate at their own costs.
4. Timing of the call
The second call for proposals opens on 5 April 2016 and closes on 13 May 2016, at 12:00 p.m. (midday) CEST (Paris time).
The Interreg Europe programme is divided into four priority axes related to the Europe 2020 strategy. As indicated in the table below, the four priority axes correspond to four out of the eleven thematic objectives as set out in the first paragraph of article 9 of the Common Provision Regulation (EU) 1303/2013. Within each priority axis, one or more specific objectives are defined. Applicants are invited to submit their project application under one of the specific objectives listed below.
( - Visit the public link of the call for the priorities list - )
Further information on the programme priority axes and specific objectives can be found in the Interreg Europe Cooperation Programme and section 2.5 of the programme manual.
The results of the first call for proposals has resulted in a significant number of applications approved under the priority axes one and two of the programme. Applications are therefore particularly encouraged under the priority axes which are currently under-represented and in particular priority axis 4. As far as the priorities one and two are concerned, the programme welcomes projects seeking to go beyond the improvement of each regional policy instrument to achieving interregional synergies Interreg Europe | Terms of reference second call for proposals | 4 / 7 between the economic sectors of the participating regions. In particular, projects resulting in cooperation between clusters, leading to European strategic cluster partnerships for smart specialisation investments, are welcomed. This focus does not confer any priority during the quality assessment. Applications involving institutions not already involved in first call projects are also encouraged taking however into consideration the characteristics of small countries where the range of eligible organisations is limited.
6. Actions supported
This is a call for proposals for interregional cooperation projects. A detailed description of this action is provided in section C ‘Projects’ of the programme manual.
7. Partnership requirements
7.1 Who can apply?
The following organisations are eligible to receive ERDF or Norwegian funding
Private non-profit bodies cannot take on the role of lead partner. Further details on eligible project partners and legal status can be found in section 4.4.2 of the programme manual.
Only “contributing partners” (those listed in the application form) can incur costs and receive ERDF. It is therefore not possible to participate with an “observer” or “sub-partner” status.
As indicated in the programme manual, the partnership should contribute to an efficient implementation of the project and reflect its objectives. Due to the programme rationale, policymakers are the main target group. These policymakers can be national, regional or local authorities as well as other organisations having a role in the definition and implementation of regional policy instruments. The participation of these competent authorities is essential to maximise the impact of the programme on regional and local policies across the EU. The involvement of authorities responsible for the policy instruments addressed by the project is therefore a prerequisite for applying to the programme. If the relevant authorities are not involved directly as partners in the project, their participation in the cooperation has to be explained in the application form and a standard letter of support from these authorities must be provided. As far as Structural Funds programmes are concerned, the letter has to be signed by the relevant bodies (e.g. managing authorities), which are listed for each country on the ‘In my country’ page of the programme’s website. This list is regularly updated and in case of doubts applicants are invited to get in touch with their national point of contact.
7.2 Geographical coverage
In compliance with Article 12 (2) of the ETC regulation (EC) No 1299/2013, projects have to involve partners from at least three countries, of which at least two partners must be from EU Member States and financed by the Interreg Europe programme.
7.3 Policy instrument addressed and territorial context
In line with the overall programme objective, all projects should at least partly focus on the improvement of programmes under the Investment for Growth and Jobs goal, and when relevant under the European Territorial Cooperation goal. Therefore, in each project, at least half of the policy instruments addressed by the EU regions must be Structural Funds programmes (e.g. a minimum of two for a project with four instruments addressed; a minimum of three for a project with five instruments addressed). Further information can be found in section 4 of the programme manual.
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( please visit the public link of this call)
11. Further information
Full details of the assistance offered to applicants is available in section 5.1 of the programme manual and on www.interregeurope.eu. A comprehensive description of the programme’s strategy and priorities, together with a socioeconomic analysis of Europe are included in the Interreg Europe Cooperation Programme. Further guidance for project applicants is provided in the programme manual which is available as part of this application pack. All official documents and contact details of the joint secretariat are also available on the programme website: www.interregeurope.eu
Further information can also be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org.