About the Programme 2021-2027

The dedicated task force set up to design the next NWE Programme (NTF) gathers representatives of six Members States 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 in November 2020.

The NTF debated the proposals formulated by dedicated working groups and has made the final decisions. At last NTF meeting on 6 October 2021, Member state representatives agreed on a draft Interreg Programme, including five priorities and nine specific objectives for the future NWE Programme to focus on.

The draft Interreg Programme (version 10 Feb 2022) is the outcome of discussions within the North-West Europe Task Force (NTF) and its dedicated working groups, which have based themselves on the Interreg Regulation for the 2021-2027 period and the SWOT analysis for the future programme carried out by a consortium of external consultants. It includes input from the NWE Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the feedback submitted to the NWE Programme via its stakeholder consultation.

Please note that the information provided in this document may still change following feedback and further discussions that may take place with the concerned parties, namely the North-West Europe Task Force and the European Commission.

Thematic orientation

The NTF has reached a preliminary agreement on five priorities and nine specific objectives for the future NWE Programme to focus on.

Priority 1: Climate and environment

Priority 2: Energy transition

Priority 3: Circular economy

Priority 4: Innovation and resilience

Priority 5: Inclusive society

The Specific Objectives numbering refers to the one that appears in the NWE IP document. It follows the numbering of Specific Objectives as defined by the European Commission.

Indicative timeline

The first Interreg NWE call for projects in the 2021-2027 period closed on Wednesday 15 June at 12.00 pm noon CET (11.00 am GMT). This call was open to all programme priorities and Specific Objectives (SOs).

Programme area

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

We are particularly proud to announce that six new regions from Germany and the Netherlands will join our programme.

In total, those six regions will strenghten Interreg NWE by adding an area of 35,823 km2 and a population of seven million inhabitants to our programme. Thanks to these additions, the Netherlands will now be entirely covered by Interreg NWE and a significant part of rural and urban (Hannover / Bremen) North West Germany joins us.  More detailed information on these new regions is available below.

These additions reaffirm Interreg NWE’s position as the post-industrial heart of Europe.

Considering the above-mentioned changes, the NWE Programme area is, for the moment, designed as presented in the map below.

 

New regions joining Interreg NWE:

Germany:

 

Netherlands:

Bremen (DE50)

 

 Groningen (NL11)

Weser-Ems (DE94)

 

 Friesland (NL12)

Leine-Weser (Hannover) (DE92)

 

 Drenthe (NL13)

The new NWE regions

The Netherlands

The area of the new Dutch regions is – compared with the other Dutch provinces – sparsely populated, though the city of Groningen ranks as the 6th biggest city of the country. Groningen is evolving into an energy valley. After providing natural gas for decades, it is now becoming a hub for hydrogen issues.

Drenthe is a province with large woods and heath fields. It heavily relies on tourism. Groningen and Drenthe have often cooperated on the field of digital service delivery.

Friesland is an agricultural area, with both crops and livestock. One third of the province is water, making it another touristic hotspot. The Wadden sea is an important wetland for Europe.

Groningen has a thriving university, with a large campus in Leeuwarden as well. Leeuwarden is well-known for their water knowledge institutions.

Northern Netherlands is looking to expand its cooperation opportunities in general. Contacts between areas in the NWE Programme and northern Netherlands regions indicate that fruitful cooperation could centre around agricultural/rural topics, but also water technology, micropollution, bioeconomy, remote-sensing projects, blue economy, etc.

Germany

The German regions expect a deep cooperation on joint challenges that they share with the North-West Europe Programme, with strong and dedicated partners from the public and private sector, academia, NGOs and active citizens.

The Federal States of Lower Saxony and Bremen regard themselves as part of north-western Europe, which is geographically characterised by the lowlands with their river courses and the coastal regions. The area comprises the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven and the Lower Saxony regions Leine-Weser and Weser-Ems.

The common challenges are to deal with climate change and to secure the leading role of the area as a driver for innovation in Europe in the future. Another common feature is that the areas are characterised by larger cities, which are driving forces for development. Lower Saxony and Bremen see great potential in extending and rounding off the North-West Europe Programme area in order to deepen transnational cooperation and to pool complementary competences of the different regions.

Another common denominator between the regions is the improvement of relations between the cities and the surrounding area. In two European Metropolitan Regions around the cities of Bremen and Hanover, cooperation in functional areas is institutionalised at regional level through multi-level governance. The Metropolitan Regions combine multi-level governance structures, innovation and competition functions of the interdependent area and promote European networking. The Metropolitan Region Northwest also bundles the regional forces from business, science, politics and administration across the borders of two Federal States in order to promote growth potential and strengthen the competitiveness of business and science. This involves both cooperation within the region beyond the state borders between Bremen and Lower Saxony and cooperation across national borders in the most important fields of competence (aerospace and materials research, maritime economy and marine research, automotive and smart mobility, logistics, energy industry and renewable energies, bio-economy, health economy). The Federal States of Bremen and Lower Saxony jointly support innovative projects that contribute to the further development of the cooperation area.

Bremen and Lower Saxony contribute to transnational cooperation with a well-founded expertise acquired through many years of involvement in various Interreg Programmes. Many players in administration, science and research, non-governmental organisations and business actively contribute with their expertise to overcome common challenges in numerous transnational projects.

UK

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]

[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

Territorial analysis

A territorial analysis (full reportsummary 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

In the framework of the elaboration process of the Future NWE programme 2021-2027, all interested stakeholders at EU, national, regional, and local level were invited to share their feedback on the thematic orientations preselected by NWE Member States via a stakeholder consultation, which was open for about 5 weeks, running from 25 February until 28 March 2021. A total of 412 responses were collected, which illustrates a high interest of stakeholders in the Interreg NWE Programme 2021-2027.

The outcome of this consultation was brought together in a synthesis report, which was used by the NTF to fine tune the indicative thematic orientations and identify as precisely as possible the target audiences for each topic.

The report notably provides insights into the following areas:

  • main characteristics of respondents, especially showing how balanced responses are in terms of geography and types of organisations (Sections 2.1 and 2.2);
  • the main added value raised by respondents from cooperation in NWE (Section 2.3);
  • an overview of the interest in the five priorities (Chapter 3);
  • an overview of other fields of interest raised by respondents across priorities (Chapter 4); and
  • some conclusions (Chapter 5).

Disclaimer: This report uses the formulation of priorities and fields of interest as applied in the survey at the beginning of 2021, notwithstanding any changes of how priorities and fields of interest may be formulated or considered at all in the final Interreg Programme.

EU Negotiations

Negotiations between EU institutions regarding the future Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, which determines the share of EU budget allocated to Cohesion Policy and thus to Interreg programmes are now finalised.

On 25 June 2021, the European Commission welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of the political agreements on the Cohesion policy legislative package 2021-2027 of €373 billion and its signature by both co-legislators. This marked the final step of the legislative procedure and allowed for an entry into force of the Cohesion legislation on 1 July 2021.

The Cohesion Policy package 2021-2027 is available here.

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