Interreg NWE looking ahead: developing the next programming period (2021-2027)

Interreg NWE has formally started the process aimed at designing a new programme which will run in the next seven years. An Interreg NWE task force (NTF) made of delegations from each country involved in the future NWE Programme was launched end 2019.


Programme area

Six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) have confirmed their participation in the future Interreg North-West Europe Programme.

However, two countries currently involved in the NWE programme will not participate in the future programme:

  • The UK has announced that it will not participate in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programmes in 2021-2027, and the UK government will not be pursuing participation in European Territorial Cooperation programmes in 2021-2027, among which Interreg North-West Europe[1]
  • Switzerland will not participate as partner state in a new Interreg NWE Programme.

Programming process and timeline

The dedicated task force gathers representatives of the six Members States mentioned above, as well as, in advisory capacity, the Joint Secretariat, the Managing Authority (Région Hauts-de-France), Contact Points and an external facilitator. It has been set up last November and has held five meetings until now.

Within the NTF, seven working groups on specific topics have been or will be launched in the coming months to discuss and make proposals on the different aspects of the future programme. The working groups are listed below:

  • Territorial analysis: to identify Interreg NWE’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - ongoing
  • Themes: to define the themes that the future programme will address within the 5 policy objectives and Interreg Specific Objective defined by the Commission - ongoing
  • Indicators: to define indicators for each specific objective of the Programme.
  • Project development: to detail the intervention logic behind the development and implementation of each project, the application process and the selection criteria for projects.
  • Communication: to agree on external communication objectives, target groups and organise the stakeholder consultation (see below).
  • Finances: tackling costs, audit and control aspects for 2021-2027.
  • Technical Assistance: to propose a budget for the Joint Secretariat and Contact Points.

Based on the proposals formulated by these working groups, the NTF will discuss and make the final decisions. The Cooperation Programme - the handbook to Interreg NWE - will then be drafted with the aim to have a first call for projects launched end 2021-early 2022 (estimated period).

Territorial analysis

A territorial analysis (extensive versionshorter version), identifying the NWE Programme’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – comparatively to other (Interreg) Programmes was conducted. Drawing lessons from the 2014-2020 period, it seeks to answer the following question: What type of territorial projects would deliver added value to European Territorial Cohesion through transnational cooperation? The document defines Interreg NWE's needs regarding its territorial span and includes recommendations for a geographical area to be covered by the next programme. It also addresses target groups to engage with and topics to tackle in 2021-2027. This is a background document which will support the working groups and NTF discussions and help in drafting the new Cooperation Programme.

Stakeholder consultation

Following the first informal consultation which took place during the NWE “Making an Impact” event in last December 2019, all stakeholders involved in the current Programme (such as project partners, former or potential applicants, EU institutions, representatives from the European Commission’s DG REGIO, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions etc.) will be consulted as part of this NTF process. The objective will be to gather their opinion on the thematic priorities for Interreg NWE in the future based on the (pre-)selection done by task force members. This consultation is expected to happen end 2020-early 2021.

EU negotiations

Negotiations between EU institutions regarding the future Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, which will determine the share of EU budget allocated to Cohesion Policy and thus to Interreg programmes are ongoing. The Council is proposing a total of 1.47 billion euros for all transnational programmes – whose number is yet to be defined – while the amount for current period is 2.1. The Commission and Parliament have respectively asked for 2.65 and 1.97 billion.


[1] The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU means that the UK will continue to participate in ESIF programmes until current programmes end. Regions and communities will continue to receive the same level of funding as they would have if the UK were a member of the EU, until the end of the 2014-2020 programme period. UK beneficiaries are thus able to participate in, contribute to and benefit from projects in current ETC programmes until they finish. It also means that UK organisations can apply for any future funding opportunities within current programme

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