INTERREG IIIB - ATLANTIC AREA
Interreg III is a Community initiative which aims to stimulate interregional cooperation in the EU between 2000 and 2006. It is solely financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
This new phase of the Interreg initiative is designed to strengthen economic and social cohesion throughout the EU, by fostering the balanced development of the continent through cross-border, trans-national and interregional cooperation. Special emphasis has been placed on integrating remote regions and those which share external borders with the candidate countries.
Interreg III is made up of 3 strands:
- Strand A: cross-border cooperation
Cross-border cooperation between adjacent regions aims to develop cross-border social and economic centres through common development strategies.
- Strand B: trans-national cooperation
Trans-national cooperation involving national, regional and local authority’s aims to promote better integration within the Union through the formation of large groups of European regions.
- Strand C: inter-regional cooperation
Interregional cooperation aims to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and instruments through large-scale information exchange and sharing of experience (networks).
The Atlantic Area Programme is part of strand B and provides for the execution of projects targeting sustainable, harmonious, balanced development and better territorial integration of the Atlantic Area. The Atlantic Area includes the geographical zones in each Country as illustrated on the map below:
The strategic objectives of the Programme are split into two levels; the first level concerns the global objectives of the programme and the second presents the objectives to be reached within each measure.
The Atlantic Area programme must guarantee a balanced, consistent and sustainable social and economic development of the whole of the Atlantic Area, achieved particularly through regional development cooperation. This involves two strategic objectives:
- Improvement in the integration of regional development policies, and implementation via an increase in the number of joint strategies targeted on the promotion of the specific assets of this area.
- Development of a culture of trans-national and inter-regional cooperation, via an increase in the number of partnerships and collaboration procedures: networking of territories and Atlantic actors.
To implement this strategy, the regions of the Atlantic Area are encouraged to work together to achieve the following four specific objectives:
- To search for sustainable development schemes in the Atlantic Area via an integrated strategy and development programme, and to harmonise social, economic and environmental objectives beyond national borders; this development strategy must take into account the interdependencies between urban and rural zones, as well as their endogenous features and potentials;
- To encourage the economic competitiveness and effectiveness of the Atlantic Area in order to overcome the handicaps of its location in relation to the rest of Europe, to help reduce economic disparities, and to promote the integration of workforces and the strengthening of their skills;
- To ensure that the cultural, historical and environmental assets of the Atlantic Area are preserved and protected from anarchic development, and that resources are used rationally;
- To encourage the coherence and cohesion of the Atlantic Area, both to affirm its identity as a group of regions and to increase its relations with other regional groups within the European Union with a view to enlargement, the aim being to develop better integration between partners inside and outside the Atlantic Area.
In order to ensure that all of the specific objectives are met, the programme is split into four priorities:
A. Polycentric structuring of the area and development of a Centre of Excellence
B. Developing efficient and sustainable transport systems with a view to ensuring sustainable mobility and improving access to the information society.
C. Promoting the environment and sustainable management of economic activities and natural resources.
C. Strengthening and promoting the Atlantic area identity in a context of globalisation.
Furthermore, each of these priorities are split into several specific measures and any project applying for ERDF funding through the Atlantic Area Programme must state which priority and measure they will satisfy.
Levels of grant
The EASY project applied for ERDF funding through the Atlantic Area Programme, and in January 2007 after careful consideration by the programme’s Managing Authority, a grant of €1,940,100 was awarded.
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