Brussels, 18 September 2013
Sharing borders, Growing Closer: Celebrating European Territorial Cooperation
The value for communities, regions and member states of EU Regional Policy’s cross-border, transnational and interregional projects and programmes is in the spotlight this week. The campaign, in the run up to European Cooperation Day on September 21, comes at a critical time.
European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) counts for a relatively small part of EU Regional Policy. But if the current agreement on Regional Policy funding for 2014-2020 is approved by the European Parliament and Council, its budget would increase to €8.9 billion. Under the new reforms to Regional Policy, currently in the final stages of negotiation, ETC programmes will also be more focused on investments that create the right conditions for future growth.
Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, said: "These cooperation programmes and projects bring European citizens closer together, sharing ideas across borders and finding solutions to shared problems. We have hundreds of ETC projects in EU regions and member states and in some neighbouring regions outside the EU. They are actively improving the daily lives of European citizens across borders, by creating jobs, protecting the environment, strengthening health care services, and investing in transport and energy infrastructure. I hope that the funding that has been proposed will be confirmed, so as to bolster the good work they are doing and ensure their continued momentum into the future.”
This week will see numerous EU programmes joining forces on and around 21st September to showcase the results and benefits of cooperation between regions across borders. The breadth of European Territorial Cooperation is in itself an achievement. It extends from community-based projects linking people in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland, to joint activities bridging communities in for example Austria and Slovenia, to broader transport or environmental strategies joining EU member States and regions, such as in the Balkans. For the second year, more than 100 events will be taking place in 30 countries, to raise awareness of the positive impact of cooperation through EU regional policy.
On 19 September, Commissioner Hahn will be on Twitter to debate the value of EU Regional Policy across borders from 14:00-15:00. Questions can already be tweeted mentioning #EUChat and #ecday to @JHahnEU.
European Territorial Cooperation is a core objective of EU Regional Policy. Regions and cities from different EU Member States are encouraged to work together and learn from each other through joint programmes, projects and networks. The main types of cooperation programme are:
The EC Day campaign is coordinated by the INTERACT Programme with the support of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions.