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Interreg Europe includes for the first time seven countries that do not belong to the EU

Interreg Europe 2024

Interreg Europe, a key interregional axis of European Territorial Cooperation, launched its third call last week. One of the main novelties of Interreg Europe 2024 edition, endowed with a budget of 140 million euros, is the inclusion of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine in its geographical scope. Thus, these countries join the 27 EU Member States that were already part of the program, along with Norway and Switzerland. Applications can be sent until 7th June 2024.

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With a budget of 394 million euros for the period 2021-2027, Interreg Europe supports the exchange and transfer of experiences, innovative approaches, and capacity development among public authorities and other organizations, with the aim of improving their regional development policy instruments, including investment programs for employment and growth.

Interreg Europe 2024

Interreg Europe 2024 is aimed at interregional cooperation projects, in which organizations from different European countries (including the seven new candidates) work together on common regional development issues. During the first three years (a period called the core phase), projects focus on exchanging and transferring experiences among participating regions to improve the addressed policy instruments. Conversely, during the fourth and final year (the follow-up phase), participating regions focus on monitoring and measuring the results and impact of their cooperation.

Interreg Europe contributes to all EU priorities, promoting a smarter, greener, more connected, social, and citizen-focused Europe, as well as better regional governance. Beneficiaries of this program can be national, regional, and local public authorities, as well as other competent organizations responsible for the development or implementation of regional development policy instruments (including investment programs for employment and growth) or organizations relevant to regional development policies, such as development agencies, innovation agencies, chambers of commerce, clusters, environmental and energy agencies, NGOs, universities, and research centres, among others.

The restricted call

This call is exclusively intended to include the seven new countries in the partnership of projects already approved under the first and second calls, which closed in 2022 and 2023, respectively. The restricted call ends on the same date as the third call and it is only open to the 150 projects approved during the previous calls.

With this call, the European Commission aims to offer projects approved in earlier calls the opportunity to also expand their collaboration to the seven countries that had not been part of Interreg Europe’s geographical scope until now. Projects approved in the first and second calls may include up to two new partners from these new participating States. The following organisations from the seven new Partner States are eligible to join approved projects and receive Interreg funding: public authorities, public law bodies (bodies governed by public law), and private non-profit bodies.

The role of Zabala Innovation

“The value of this program lies not only in its generous budget or its strategic guidelines, but in its ability to cultivate a genuine sense of European community,” highlights Aurora García, head of the Regions and Cities knowledge area at Zabala Innovation, who adds: “By promoting the exchange of experiences and best practices, and knowledge transfer, Interreg Europe not only drives tangible progress in our regions but also strengthens the economic, political, and cultural ties that unite us as people living and working in Europe.”

García concludes: “Through Interreg Europe 2024, once again, we continue to work to drive innovation also in the field of European Territorial Cooperation. At Zabala Innovation, we have first-hand knowledge of the needs and barriers faced by Public Administrations when seeking sources of funding. Additionally, we have extensive and successful experience in project management under Interreg frameworks, such as POCTEP, SUDOE, Euro-MED, Atlantic, and Europe, and other European funding programs such as Horizon Europe, Innovation Fund, and LIFE, among others.”