Cross-Border Cooperation - CBC

European Cross-Border cooperation, known as Interreg A, supports cooperation between NUTS III regions from at least two different Member States lying directly on the borders or adjacent to them. It aims to tackle common challenges identified jointly in the border regions and to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas, while enhancing the cooperation process for the purposes of the overall harmonious development of the Union.

37.5% of the EU population lives in border areas, along some 38 internal borders made up of geographic, linguistic barriers often bearing the scars of European wars. First developed as a Community initiative in 1990, Interreg was reorganised as a formal "objective" of European Cohesion Policy in 2000.

European Cross-border cooperation aims to tackle common challenges identified jointly in the border regions and to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas, while enhancing the cooperation process for the purpose of the overall harmonious development of the Union.

There are 60 cooperation programmes for the period 2007-2013 with an allocation of EUR 6 billion (60% of which have been spent already), are involved in a wide variety of activities linked to the maturity of border cooperation.

Cross-border cooperation programmes support NUTS III regions laying directly on the borders, or adjacent to them. They are managed by joint structures, situated in one of the countries, responsible for the whole programme.

In some border areas, cooperation still had to heal the scars of history and turn recent ‘enemies’ into ‘neighbours’ to foster sustainable trust along many borders, as a stepping stone towards more mature stages of cooperation ranging from tackling common handicaps – especially risk prevention and emergency response activities- to more integrated cooperation approaches aiming at exploiting together untapped potential to boost economic development in often peripheral regions.

In particular, the more integrated stages of Cross-border cooperation contribute to a harmonious territorial development by retaining brains in the border areas that would otherwise migrate to the economic and service-wise more attractive national centers. This is achieved by enhancing the quality of life in the often peripheral border regions, notably via investments in:

  • innovation,
  • health care
  • education
  • employment
  • labour mobility

The new 2014-2020 period will require each of the 60 programmes to be more focused in terms of results and priorities, in line with the new reformed EU Cohesion Policy. This should ensure maximum impact and even more effective use of the investments.

2007-2013

  • EUR 6 Billion
  • 60 programmes
  • over 6.000 projects

2014-2020

  • EUR 6.6 billion
  • 60 programmes