(01 October 2018) – While Brexit and the new EU priorities threaten to reduce the funds allocated for cross-border cooperation after 25 years, the Commission wants to improve Interreg with a new legal framework for cooperation between regions.
Over 150 million people live in cross-border areas in Europe. Interreg was introduced in the framework of the Cohesion Policy as a funding tool to help local and regional authorities tackle common challenges with shared solutions in the fields of health, research, education, transport and the environment.
Since 2014, the European Regional Development Fund allows supporting projects enhancing efficient public administration “by promoting legal and administrative cooperation and cooperation between citizens and institutions” under Interreg programmes. But it has not been enough.
Legal problems and barriers linked to different administrative cultures are still an obstacle for cross-border cooperation. The EU executive proposed in May that the rules of one member state may voluntarily be applied in a neighbouring country.
In the next months, the Parliament, the Council and the Commission will have to negotiate a new long-term EU budget, too. As a result of the UK leaving the EU and due to the introduction of new priorities – security, migration, climate change – the budget allocation for Cohesion Policy is likely to be reduced up to 10%. This, of course, also affects Interreg. (EurActiv)