Economic and social cohesion and cooperation in neighbouring border regions should get maximum support, according to the Regional Development Committee.
In Monday´s vote, MEPs recommended adding an extra EUR 2.73 billion to earmark a total amount of EUR 11.16 billion for European territorial cooperation (Interreg), to be funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF+) and the Cohesion Fund for the 2021-2027 programming period.
The committee recommends allocating
-EUR 7,5 billion (67,16 %) to cross-border cooperation,
-EUR 1.97 billion in total (17,68 %) for transnational cooperation,
-EUR 357.3 million in total (3,2 %) for outermost regions’ cooperation,
-EUR 365 million in total (3,27 %) for interregional cooperation, and
-EUR 970 million (8,69 %) to the new initiative on interregional innovation investments.
Special attention to SMEs and small projects
Applications for People2people and small-scale projects involving SMEs should be encouraged by removing administrative barriers and simplifying access to funding.
The maximum co-financing rate for projects should be set at 80 % - 10 % more than what the European Commission initially proposed.
“Interreg is an important symbol against the concept of isolation and for cooperation amongst neighbours. We want border hindrances to be removed - including, above all, the ones in people’s minds. Border regions should become communal spaces in which Europe becomes a tangible reality in everyday life. This is what the Interreg programme enables us to do”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Pascal Arimont (EPP, BE).
The text was adopted with 23 votes to 0 and no abstentions and will be tabled for a plenary vote in January to obtain a mandate for negotiations with the Council.
The role of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to contribute to reducing disparities between the development levels in the various regions and to support the least favoured regions, among which particular attention is to be paid to cross-border regions, rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, areas with a low population density, islands and mountain regions. The purpose of the resolution is to lay down the specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the ERDF and external financing instruments for the period 2021-2027.