Interreg III

The Interreg IIIi Programme aims to stimulate interregional co-operation in the European Union between 2000 and 2006. The Programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDFi). This new phase of the Interreg initiative is designed to strengthen economic and social cohesion throughout the EUi, by fostering the balanced development of the continent through cross-border, transnational and interregional co-operation. Special emphasis has been placed on integrating remote regions and those which share external borders with the candidate countries. Interreg III comprises of three funding strands,

  • Strand A : Cross-Border Co-operation
    Cross-border co-operation between adjacent regions aims to develop cross-border social and economic centres through common development strategies
  • Strand B : Transnationali Co-operation
    Transnational co-operation between national, regional and local authorities aims to promote better integration within the Union through the formation of large groups of European regions
  • Strand C : Interregional Co-operation
    Interregional co-operation aims to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and instruments through large-scale information exchange and sharing of experience (networks)

The type of actions which can be funded under the Interreg III Programme are,

Strand A : Cross-Border Co-operation

  • Promotion of urban, rural and coastal development
  • Strengthening the spirit of enterprise
  • Developing small and medium-sized enterprises, including those in the tourism sector
  • Developing local employment initiatives
  • Assistance for labour market integration and social inclusion
  • Initiatives for encouraging shared use of human resources and facilities for research and development, education, culture, communication, health and civil protection
  • Measures for environmental protection, improving energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
  • Improving transport, information and communication networks and services, water and energy systems
  • Increasing co-operation in legal and administrative areas
  • Increasing human and institutional potential for cross-border co-operation

Strand B: Transnational Co-operation

  • Drawing up regional development strategies at transnational level, including co-operation between towns or urban areas and rural areas
  • Promoting effective and sustainable transport systems, together with better access to the information society. The aim here is to facilitate communication between island or peripheral regions
  • Promoting protection of the environment and natural resources, particularly water resources

In the specific case of ultra-peripheral regions, transnational co-operation encourages the following initiatives,

  • Economic integration and improved co-operation between these regions and regions in other Member States
  • Improved links with the countries of their wider geographic area (Caribbean, Latin America, Atlantic Ocean, North West Africa and the Indian Ocean)

Strand C: Interregional Co-operation

  • Exchanges of experience and good practice between Member States and with third countries concerning cross-border and transnational co-operation under Strands A and B of Interreg III
  • Co-operation initiatives in sectors such as research, technology development, enterprise, the information society, tourism, culture or the environment

The participation of island and ultra-peripheral regions in the various partner networks is particularly important, as it is too for candidate countries. In addition, co-operation between maritime regions, even bilateral co-operation, will be encouraged.