The INTERREG IVB Programme funds projects which contribute to a cohesive and sustainable territorial development of North-West Europe. It supports transnational cooperation to address common challenges of Member States, regions and other authorities. In doing so, it strengthens the areas territorial assets and harnesses their potential.
There are four priorities:
1: Developing the NWE knowledge-based economy by capitalising on our capacity for innovation
2: Sustainable management of natural resources and of natural areas and technological risks
3: Improving connectivity in NWE by promoting intelligent and sustainable transport and ICT solutions
4: Promoting strong and prosperous communities at transnational level
Transnational cooperation is the core of the INTERREG IVB NWE Programme. It allows countries to work together on mutually beneficial projects to tackle issues that go beyond national borders. It produces transferable working models, and speeds up the process of innovation through the sharing of knowledge and development costs. The collective benefits of such collaboration are invaluable; participating organisations acquire new skills, initiate effective working methods and increase their connections to European networks.
Such challenges, by definition, can only be tackled effectively at local, regional or national level through transnational cooperation. That is to say, the scale and consequences of any given social, economic or environmental challenge should determine the scale of the intervention.
For instance, flood prevention depends on integrated measures taken at the scale of the whole river basin. To succeed, these challenges often necessitate multilateral intervention. With an aim to facilitate such intervention, INTERREG IVB NWE funds projects that transform such pressures into opportunities for change.
A transnational investment is one that has an impact on another country. One example is investments in flood defense. If such a clear connection cannot be demonstrated, then an innovative pilot of common benefit to the partnership can also qualify as a transnational investment. This can refer for example to a test case for all partners which entails the joint design or use of the final output, or joint management and implementation of the investment.
So, when designing your project, please bear in mind the following questions:
Does this investment/action necessitate transnational cooperation?
Will this transnational investment/action save the other project partners time & costs?
Will the knowledge gained from such an investment be transferable to all partners and will it be used beyond the lifetime of the project and the partnership?
The Operational Programme (approved by the European Commission) outlines the strategy of the Programme: its rationale, content, priorities and measures as well as administrative arrangements for Programme management.
Strategic Initiatives are a novel approach to project development in a number of fields in which transnational cooperation is particularly important. This combines a top-down perspective with the bottom-up involvement of key actors. Their aim is to promote a coordinated and integrated approach in areas of relevance to the wider Programme territory, by reflecting the distinctive character of the NWE Cooperation Area. Each Strategic Initiative is a group of projects and will usually comprise three to five projects.
Projects approved under a Strategic Initiative have a stronger clustering role and more visible communication activities. To that end they will receive an additional ERDF grant of 1% of their total budget from the Programmes Technical Assistance budget (not requiring additional match funding) to facilitate the cooperation with the other projects of the initiative. If projects are approved under regular calls for proposals before a call for Strategic Initiatives is launched in their field, they can still join the relevant cluster at a later stage. Please click here to for more details on the Strategic Initiatives.
There are no official minimums or maximums. However, the budget of a project should be proportionate to the expected results, i.e. the overall value for money. The costs will be bigger if the project includes investments. Moreover, it can be useful to look at the budget breakdowns for each Priority to get a better idea of the funding available.
The Programme Secretariat and Contact Points are part of a project development network. By getting in touch with the Contact Point in your own country, your idea can be disseminated across the other countries and likely partners can be specifically targeted. You should also make sure to officially register your idea with the Programme Secretariat as soon as possible using the official form.
No- the size will depend on the theme to be tackled and the coordination and management capacities of the Lead Partner and coordinator. Two transnational partners is the minimum requirement but three or more will widen the impact of the project on the Programme area. Bear in mind, too small a partnership might weaken the quality of transnational working and jeopardise the projects potential for sound implementation; too large a partnership can pose significant organisational, communication and co-ordination problems. In light of the requirements for tangible results and implementation, the key actors involved in one specific field or theme should be involved as far as possible.
All projects consist of a partnership in which a Lead Partner is ultimately responsible for managing the project on behalf of the projects partners. All partners involved with the implementation of a project sign a Partnership Agreement.
It is very important that sound agreements are made between the Lead Partner and other partners since the Lead Partner represents legitimately the partners and is ultimately responsible for the management of the project. Such contracts are an important base for a successful cooperation between all partners and form a solid foundation for general and financial management. A template of a Partnership Agreement is available on line (www.nweurope.eu). A "Partnership Agreement" must be drawn up with the partners setting down their obligations for the lifetime of the project (see Guidance note 4 "Partnership"). A signed copy of the Partnership Agreement must be delivered to the Secretariat before any ERDF payment can be made.
The willingness of project partners to engage in the partnership needs to be expressed by a complete set of Letters of Support by the deadline for submission. Partners may already wish to make a statement on their financial contribution; however it is not binding at this stage.
No, it is not possible to add formal partners after the approval of the project. The only possibility to do that would be to submit a new application to the Programme Steering Committee. You can, of course, invite other interested parties as observers in your project if you wish.
The North West Europe Programme organises lead partner seminars soon after projects have been approved. During this event, the NWE Secretariat will provide information and technical assistance to help partners implement their projects.
The Lead Partner is responsible for the submission of the Application Form and for the implementation of the entire project in the event of approval. Only partners located in the NWE area are entitled to take on the role of Lead Partner and it is important to note that funds are paid out retrospectively.
The LP is responsible for the sound management of the project, ensures the delivery of outputs and organises the required audits and control activities. He establishes legal connections between project partners in order to define their mutual cooperation. A critical ingredient of successful transnational co-operation, often overlooked at the outset, is the will to promote patient mutual understanding between different cultures.
To ensure that project funds are effectively monitored and managed, the Lead Partner must open a separate and specific bank account for the project into which all ERDF payments will be made. This means that the account has to be distinguishable from other accounts held by the Lead Partner. This does not mean that the project account has to be separate from the Lead Partners normal accounting system. For example, if the Lead Partner has one general bank account which includes several ledger numbers, the Lead Partner need not open a completely new bank account for the project, but must make sure that one ledger number is exclusively used for the INTERREG IVB NWE project.
A progress report together with a payment claim has to be submitted to the Secretariat every six months by the Lead Partner: a long progress report should be submitted in April and a shorter version in October. The progress report allows the Secretariat to ensure that the project is running according to the action plan with regard to the correct implementation of investments and actions as well as the delivery of outputs. The purpose of the payment claim is to ensure that all partners are carrying out activities in line with the budget and submitting eligible costs.
Monitoring is a task that needs to be carried out throughout the lifetime of your project. It must be planned as an integral part of your day-to-day management. From the first stages of project development, you should think about the way you are going to monitor your activities. Inputs, outputs, results and impacts should be regularly and systematically reviewed not only in financial terms but also for content.
Consistent and reliable co-ordination mechanisms must be set up, including a comprehensive audit trail in line with financial regulations. The Lead Partner is advised to tailor the Partnership Agreement to the project and set out mutual liabilities & obligations. The partnership should also establish a system whereby project accounts are closed early enough to allow sufficient time to collect all invoices, payslips, timesheets and any other documents of project expenditure.
Calls for Proposals will be held throughout the Programmes lifetime (2007-2013), twice during the first years of Programme implementation. Information on calls and guidance to assist applicants is available here.
Any organisation with an involvement in territorial development-related issues may participate in the NWE Programme on a non-profit basis. The Programme is not limited to specialists and is open to a wide range of actors from the public, private and non-profit sector. In order to receive funding, a project must involve partners from at least two EU member states, one of which should be within the NWE cooperation area
In exceptional cases, it is possible to include project partners from outside the NWE area but it has to be demonstrated that without their participation the project partnership would be unable to achieve its objectives. In duly justified cases, partners located outside the NWE area may receive ERDF funding. However, in order to pay the ERDF share to a partner from outside NWE area, its country has to sign an Agreement with the Managing Authority to officially allow the partners contribution.
The Secretariat has prepared an applicants pack including all the documents necessary to submit a project. This Application Pack can be downloaded from the website together with the Guidance Notes and the Operational Programme.
Private partners can participate in the NWE Programme, but only non profit making private partners can be Lead Partners. In this case, the Lead Partners solvency must be demonstrated by a bank guarantee or by any other properly documented evidence. The participation of private profit making partners is governed by EU and national competition rules- please click here to for more details.
Should a partner be a "profit making body", the results of projects co-financed under the INTERREG IVB NWE Programme have to be made public, have to benefit, and have to belong to the Programme. There are also a number of EU rules governing the amount of EU aid which can be granted to private, profit-making partners (click here for ...)
You can see what projects received ERDF by looking at the Programme Budget section (hyperlink) on the website. You are also highly encouraged to have a look at or contact the projects that were funded under the IIIB Programme. You can learn a lot from them, in terms of management and communication strategy.
Decisions are taken by the Programme Steering Committee (PSC). This is made up by Member States representatives. Each Member State can nominate up to three representatives. Decisions over individual project applications are made by consensus of all national delegations.
The Programme Steering Committee meets exactly 2 months after the closure of the call for proposals. It usually meets over two days and decisions are usually communicated to applicants within 1-2 weeks.
The submission of the Application Form in English is a minimum requirement but additional copies of the application can be submitted in one or more of the other Programme languages (French, German or Dutch).
Once an application has been submitted to the NWE Programme Secretariat it is registered and a notification of receipt is sent to the Lead Partner. Applications are assessed by the NWE Programme Secretariat against eligibility and selection criteria. The NWE Programme Secretariat sends copies of all applications together with its recommendations to delegates of the Programme Steering Committee (PSC). At its meetings (held every six months), the PSC decides by consensus whether the application is approved. Once the Programme Steering Committee has reached a decision, the Lead Partner is informed. The assessment procedure, from the closure of the Call for Proposals to the meeting of the Programme Steering Committee, takes approximately eight weeks. Each project is either "conditionally approved", "referred back" or "rejected".
Projects that are referred back do not score sufficiently high against the selection criteria to merit the approval of the Steering Committee. Such a decision does not prevent a project proposal from being submitted at a later Call for Proposals. It is essential, however, to note that the project proposal has deficiencies and should be modified (in case of resubmission) according to the recommendations and remarks that will be outlined in the notification letter (areas for improvement).
This means that the project idea as such is not deemed suitable under the objectives of the INTERREG IVB North West Europe Programme. In this case, applicants are often encouraged to consider other sources of funding.
They consist of the provision of land or real estate, equipment or raw materials, research or professional work or unpaid voluntary work provided free of charge to the partners. Staff paid by the partner organisation is not contribution in kind.
In-kind contributions can only be included in Payment Claims if they were included in the approved Application Form attached to the Subsidy Contract.
No, match funds must not include other European funding streams. In-kind contributions are fine (up to a maximum level), providing the value of land, staff time, voluntary time etc is identified. Projects previously funded by the EU can be revisited providing that the payment period of previous EU funding is completed.
Any expenditure incurred outside the eligible area by project partners located inside the area (for example, costs of a meeting or a conference) may be considered as eligible if a need for the expenditure to be incurred outside the area has been clearly demonstrated. Nevertheless, Lead Partners should contact the JTS for authorisation before planning project activities outside the eligible area.
The starting date will be determined individually by each project. It is the date on which the first expenditure of the project was incurred (including preparation costs). All costs are eligible one year prior to the closure of the call for proposals at which the application is formally submitted to the Secretariat, as long as the actions are not completed before that date. The earliest possible starting date is 1 January 2007.
Preparation costs are an integral part of the overall project budget and are subject to the same eligibility rules as the rest of the budget. Only projects approved by the Steering Committee can claim preparation costs. Once the Subsidy Contract is signed, the Lead Partner can submit the projects first Payment Claim Form for its preparation costs (up to •50,000 ERDF).
Preparation costs are subject to the same eligibility rules as the rest of the budget.
In order to be eligible, preparation costs must show a direct demonstrable connection with the development of the project from its inception up to the time of application. Costs relating to the implementation of the project can not be claimed in the preparation cost budget line.
As part of the original application, projects are required to submit a detailed budget corresponding to the activities described in the Application Form. When the application is approved by the Steering Committee, the total budget is also approved. It is not possible to increase the total ERDF amount committed to the project. The only possibility to do so would be to submit another application to the Programme Steering Committee.
Minor changes to the individual budget lines are not monitored by the Secretariat: projects are allowed to overspend by a maximum of 20% of the individual budget lines. Increases of more than 20% on individual budget lines must be submitted and duly justified to the Secretariat using the request for changes form. The project will receive formal approval from the Secretariat if appropriate. Lead Partners are advised to contact the Secretariat before making any budget line changes.
Yes. The Secretariat is monitoring the project as a whole. What matters is that all the actions foreseen in the application form are carried out. If they are carried out by another partner that initially planned, it should be mentioned in the progress report to be sent every 6 month to the JTS. Should there be a major issue with one partner (drop out, etc.), the Lead Partner is advised to get in contact with the JTS.
Yes: if actions cannot be implemented within the approved timeframe as mentioned in the Application Form, the Lead Partner should send a formal request through the request for changes form, confirming that the end date extension does not include additional actions and does not result in budget modifications.
No: the end date indicated in the Application Form is the date by which the final report should be submitted to the Secretariat. Any expenditure (including costs linked to project closure) incurred, invoiced or paid after the official project end date is ineligible.