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Programme Selection  Lead Partner Project dev. Eligibility Implementation









What is the co-operation area under the Interreg IIIB NWE Programme ?

INTERREG IIIB NWE is one of thirteen INTERREG IIIB areas and includes the following countries and regions:

  • Belgium  Whole country
  • Germany  Baden Württemberg, parts of Bayern (Ober-, Mittel-, Unterfranken and Schwaben), Hessen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland 
  • France Alsace, Basse Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne /Ardennes, Franche-Comté, Haute Normandie, Ile de France, Lorraine, Nord-Pas de Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie
  • Ireland  Whole country
  • Luxembourg Whole country
  • Netherlands Flevoland, Gelderland, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland,     Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland
  • United Kingdom  Whole country
  • Switzerland Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Glarus, Jura, Luzern, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Uri, Zug, Zürich


*Swiss organisations can participate in NWE projects but are not entitled to ERDF funding. Organisations from participatory cantons may receive funding from the Swiss federal government to co-finance their share in the project budget, whereas bodies from non-participatory cantons will be expected to provide their full contribution.



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Where can the general outline of the Programme be found ?

The general outline of the Programme can be found in the Community Initiative Programme (CIP) approved by the European Commission on 22nd March 2002. The CIP outlines the strategy of the Programme, the rationale and detailed analysis that form the basis of it, the content of the Programme’s priorities and measures, administrative arrangements for Programme management and details of the Programme budget at priority level. The Programme Complement provides further information on the objectives, possible activities, expected results, outputs and impacts at measure level, the financial plan, selection criteria, the publicity strategy and other general information regarding the Programme.



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How much funding is available ?

The ERDF budget of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme for 2001-2008 is €330 million. Please see Chapter V of the CIP or Chapter 7 of the Programme Complement for further details.



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What are the main objectives of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme ?

Through the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme, the European Union is funding forward-looking projects in the field of territorial development. The ultimate objective of the NWE Programme is to contribute to a more cohesive, balanced and sustainable territorial development of the area by fostering transnational co-operation and maximising the benefits in important areas of mutual concern between Member States, regions and other authorities and actors.



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What is meant by transnational co-operation ?

The essence of the INTERREG IIIB Programme as opposed to mainstream Structural Funds is transnational co-operation. The minimum formal requirement for transnationality under INTERREG IIIB is that a project should involve co-operating partners from at least two different countries of the NWE area with each partner contributing to project funding and being active in the implementation of the action plan (Eligibility Criterion No. 1). However, Eligibility Criterion No. 1 also states that ‘Investment’ projects (especially if the project entails investment in infrastructure) may exceptionally be implemented in a single Member State provided that a significant impact can be demonstrated in other countries.
Beyond the minimum requirement for transnationality, i.e. partners from at least two different countries, projects should involve high levels of transnational co-operation (Selection Criterion No. 1).

An INTERREG IIIB project should preferably address a transnational issue, i.e. an issue affecting a trans-national area across national and regional borders, which cannot be tackled adequately at the local, regional or national level and which requires trans-national co-operation. For example, it has long been recognised that environmental pollution knows no borders and has to be tackled through transnational or international action. Fighting flooding and improving river water quality depend very much on integrated measures taken at the scale of the whole river basin. Planning infrastructure developments running through several countries requires trans-national or cross-border responses: for example, better access for Ireland to the continent depends largely on measures taken on British territory. Great transnational sections of our European cultural heritage (such as the Roman, Gothic and Celtic heritages, industrial archaeology, Art Nouveau) should be enhanced and promoted in a co-ordinated way.

If a project does not tackle a transnational issue, it should at least address a common issue of interest to the whole partnership. A common issue is an issue faced by several cities and regions in various locations across the European territory, which could be tackled at the local, regional or national level, but for which transnational co-operation would bring more innovative and efficient solutions. Examples are urban decline and regeneration, economic development, congestion, urban transport and social exclusion. In many cases, transnational co-operation can improve the way we understand and tackle these issues through exchanges of good practice, transfers of knowledge and expertise and common pilot projects/activities. Transnational co-operation can bring added value to the achievements of individual actors through the development of more effective, innovative and integrated solutions. The outcome of projects is expected to be different to that which would be achievable without transnational co-operation.

Examples of projects that are NOT transnational include:

  • A selection of local projects only linked with each other by the need for EU funding, which could have been funded by national, regional or local money without the need for INTERREG support
  • A series of local investments only related to each other through a vague thematic relationship or a very broad theme mentioned in a transnational document
  • A series of individual pilots/investments for which there is only an ex-post exchange of experience and no joint implementation or cross-fertilisation.



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How can an investment be transnational ?

Ideally, a transnational investment has a clear, significant spatial impact on another country. If this cannot be demonstrated, the foreseen investment should have a clear transnational benefit and relevance for the whole partnership, either through:

  • its innovative character benefiting other partners through cross-fertilisation or transfer of knowledge at all stages;
  • the joint management or shared use of the final output;
  • its joint design and implementation by several or all partners.

Exceptionally an investment project may be implemented in a single Member State, provided that a significant impact in other countries can be demonstrated.



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How do you demonstrate the transnational character of your project ?

Project promoters are required to demonstrate the transnational dimension of their project in the Application Form. In particular, in the Action Plan of the project application, project partners have to explain:

  • How the involvement of all or several partners in all activities will be secured (joint implementation);
  • The extent to which an action/investment implemented by one partner will have a direct impact upon or bring real common benefits to the partnership as a whole;
  • How each specific local investment relates to the overall transnational strategy and/or is implemented jointly;
  • How exchanges and cross-fertilisation between local actions/investments will be organised.


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What is the INTERREG IIIB North-West Europe (NWE) Programme ?

INTERREG IIIB is one of the three strands of the INTERREG III Community Initiative. Its basic aim is to promote transnational co-operation between national, regional and local authorities to achieve a higher level of harmonised development within the EU territory, as well as to improve territorial integration with associated states and other countries. The INTERREG III Community Initiative receives co-financing from the Commission and the Member States. EU financing comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), one of the four EU Structural Funds. All funding from the European Regional Development Fund and other Structural Funds comes in the form of non-reimbursable grants.

The INTERREG IIIB North-West Europe Programme is a direct follow-up to the INTERREG IIC North West Metropolitan Area Programme. However, the co-operation area has been extended under INTERREG IIIB and the area now covers regions in eight countries and 171 million people.



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What are the priorities of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme ?

The NWE Programme revolves around five Priorities each addressing a particular policy area on which projects are expected to concentrate. Each Priority is divided into two Measures.

Visit Section Key Priorities



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How is the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme organised ?

A joint management structure has been set up to manage, co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme.

Visit Section Programme management



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>> What is the co-operation area under the Interreg IIIB NWE Programme ?
>> Where can the general outline of the Programme be found ?
>> How much funding is available ?
>> What are the main objectives of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme ?
>> What is meant by transnational co-operation ?
>> How can an investment be transnational ?
>> How do you demonstrate the transnational character of your project ?
>> What is the INTERREG IIIB North-West Europe (NWE) Programme ?
>> What are the priorities of the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme ?
>> How is the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme organised ?













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