Interview with NWE Programme Director Mathieu Mori

Get to know Mathieu Mori who took over the role of Programme Director for Interreg NWE on 1st September 2020.

On 1st September 2020, Mathieu Mori took over the role of Programme Director for Interreg NWE. Mathieu has a vast experience in European Territorial Cooperation, previously working for six years as Secretary General of the Assembly of European Regions. He holds an MSc in European Public Policy from University College London and a PgCert in historical studies from Oxford University. Mathieu arrived in the Joint Secretariat at a strategic time since Interreg North-West Europe is currently shaping its future programme, which will run from 2021 to 2027.

What motivated you to join Interreg NWE?

After spending several years representing the interests of European Regions in Brussels and Strasbourg, promoting cohesion policy and territorial cooperation, I was keen to continue my career at a more operational level. 

Working for Interreg is a good way for me to further exploit my territorial cooperation commitment closer to projects and citizens. Moreover, Interreg NWE being one of the largest Interreg programmes, carries responsibilities and expectations in the promotion of territorial cooperation that I am keen to take on.

I am delighted to have joined Interreg, one of the European Union success stories!


What challenges and opportunities do you see for the current Interreg NWE programme?

The biggest challenges for the current programme are the impacts of COVID and Brexit on project partners. The implementation of many projects has been slowed down or put on hold because of the sanitary situation. With Brexit, the uncertainty, until this summer, about the future of the United Kingdom participation in Interreg has caused anxiety and the decision of this important partner not to take part in the future programming period raised many questions among project partners.

These two crises have been opportunities to show the resilience and agility of the programme in dire times and its ability to provide fast and tailormade solutions to projects. These crises also challenge us to adapt the forthcoming 2021-2027 programme.

Our fast and adapted responses illustrate one of the key added values of Interreg: how close we are to project partners.

What shape is the future Interreg North-West Europe programme (2021-2027) taking?  

Despite the United Kingdom and Switzerland leaving the programme, the key characteristics of the area covered will not change. North West Europe will continue to cover a highly urbanised and populated area (25% of the total EU population), and a wealthy area (46% of EU GDP produced in NWE) where disparities remain high.

The DNA of the programme will therefore remain to fight those disparities. Which policy objectives will be used to achieve that goal is currently being discussed by the programme’s Member States.

A public consultation will take place based on the priorities pre-selected by the Member States. This consultation is expected to happen end of 2020 – early 2021.

We aim at having our first call for projects launched end of 2021 – early 2022.

Regular updates about the future NWE programme can be found on our website and will be flagged up via social media.

What ambition do you have for both the Programme and the NWE area for the years to come?

NWE must continue to be a leading Interreg programme and Interreg must strengthen its visibility as a European Union flagship.

By working tirelessly with project partners to bring positive change to the territory and people of NWE and by collaborating with other Interreg programmes on improving our visibility and ways of working, I believe we will strengthen our legitimacy and eventually increase our means to achieve even more for our projects and citizens.

As for the NWE area, it is important we go beyond the image of the key economic player with high levels of innovation, and that we continue to actively reach out to territories lagging behind and smaller actors (SMEs, NGOs, smaller universities) to further promote solidarity and cohesion.

With the support of the Member States, the Managing authority, the NWE JS team and CP network as well as all our project partners, I am looking forward to achieving these positive changes in the years to come.

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