North-West Europe Programme (Interreg IVB)
On 26th September 2007, the European Commission approved a European Territorial Cooperation Programme for transnational cooperation between Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with the participation of Switzerland, for the period 2007-2013. The Transnational Territorial Co-operation Programme “North West Europe” (NWE) involves EU support for 93 NUTS II areas in the participating countries, within the European Territorial Cooperation Objective framework. The Programme affects a population of about 180 million people (2003) living in the eligible area of 845,000 km. The total budget of the 2007-2013 Programme is around €696 million. EU investment through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to €355 million. Projects were eligible to apply for a grant rate of up to 50% ERDF.
The main goal of the Programme is to capitalise on the co-operation between key actors and to address territorial issues across the North-West Europe programme area. The Programme seeks to contribute to the economic competitiveness of the region, thereby equally promoting regionally balanced and sustainable development. The Programme offers a cross-sectoral approach to territorial development, which promotes close cooperation with universities, non-governmental organisations, public authorities and the private sector to secure contribution towards economic and social cohesion and EU competitiveness. The Transnational Cooperation Programme offers the advantage of establishing links between actions at regional, national, cross-border and interregional levels. These efforts increasingly complement activities, policies and programmes in the participating countries.
The Programme priorities for 2007-2013 are:
Priority 1: Developing the NWE knowledge-based economy by capitalising on capacity for innovation
Priority 2: Sustainable management of natural resources and of natural and technological risks
Priority 3: Improving connectivity in NWE by promoting intelligent and sustainable transport and ICT solutions
Priority 4: Promoting strong and prosperous communities at transnational level.
The Assembly took an executive involvement in the programme on behalf of the Irish Member State by providing representatives to both the Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) and Programme Steering Committee (PSC). The Assembly also hosts the First Level Controller for Irish project partners and the Irish Contact Point.