The new NWE regions
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.
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.
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