The NWE region is the economic powerhouse of Europe: it is endowed with a wealth of territorial assets including a highly skilled workforce and world class universities. To extract the economic the value of such attributes, projects under this priority should aim to strengthen the economic competitiveness of NWE in response to the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs.
Projects should aim to produce transnational partnerships which can enhance the region’s capacity to innovate and facilitate the development of knowledge-based activities. Preference will be given to projects which can develop cross-sectoral synergies and facilitate the creation, demonstration and above all, the application of knowledge.
Project activities should be clearly linked to territorial development and not solely focus on networking within the specific scientific/business sector, for which, the interregional cooperation strand is more appropriate. The Programme will not support research and development or academic networking which is not linked to actions or demonstration projects.
The sustainable management of natural resources and risks is of utmost importance for the NWE area. This priority calls for intervention based on a broad range of activities which attempt to minimize and prevent the pollution of land, water and air. In the case of coastal, marine and river flooding, preference will be given to projects which transfer applicable knowledge and develop innovative responses across the whole of NWE area.
Preference will be given to cross-sectoral projects addressing obstacles in legislative systems and those which focus on improving the lack of integration in institutional and governmental structures. Projects limited to data collection and management, or local/regional activities and flood defence investments that are not relevant to the wider transnational cooperation area will not be supported.
North West Europe is, in general, characterised by a high level of accessibility. Regional imbalances, however, continue to persist: the core area suffers from congestion and the more peripheral and rural areas endure low levels of accessibility (i.e. transport infrastructure) and connectivity (i.e. advanced ICT).
The focus of the Programme is to overcome such challenges, not only through demand management and a more efficient and sustainable use of existing capacity, but through the provision of new small-scale infrastructure.
Projects which improve the transnational coordination of transport and ICT-related solutions, for example to achieve intermodal shift, to relieve bottlenecks or to harmonise railway timetables, will be well received. Similarly, the Programme will support projects which seek to strengthen the political and institutional framework for enhancing the quality and performance of such infrastructure and services. Research or purely application-oriented tools in logistics which do not address the aforementioned challenges will not be supported.
This priority supports transnational actions that facilitate economic and social cohesion within and between cities, towns and rural communities. Projects should aim to enhance the potential of regional assets aim to improve the attractiveness of environments, examine the potential for energy efficiencies in the construction and use of buildings and find solutions to the impacts of demographic change and migration.
For instance, the territorial development consequences of demographic change and ageing are substantial: changing transport requirements (modes of transport, times of travel) and land use demands (housing needs for the elderly population) as well as the related impacts on the availability and need for infrastructure and services.
This priority, therefore, seeks actions and model solutions for adapting policies to achieve a better balance in the settlement structure and avoid further polarisation and depopulation tendencies. Projects which concentrate on local actions with no transnational synergy effects, and which do not provide wider territorial development benefits for the transnational area will not be supported.