INTERREG was a joint initiative of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which aimed at promoting cooperation between EU Member States and non- EU countries. Today ( in the programming period 2007-2013 ) the program runs under the term European Territorial Cooperation (ETC ) and is adjacent to the "Convergence " and "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective in the European structural policy. Nothing has changed in the design of the instrument (A, B, C).

The program promotes cross-border cooperation measures such as infrastructure projects, the cooperation between public utilities, joint actions of companies or joint ventures in the field of environmental protection, education, regional planning and culture.

  • 3.1 Background
  • 3.2 Interreg III A 3.2.1 Designated Areas
  • 5.1 Literature
  • 5.2 Notes and references
  • 6.1 External links

General Objectives

According to the EU, the general objective of INTERREG, " to ensure that national borders are not a barrier to the balanced development and integration of the European territory ". Border areas have two problems: the boundary represents a fragmentation in the economic, cultural and social meaning is and border regions are often neglected by national policy. For these reasons and the fact that by extensions increase the internal borders and new external borders arise, a promotion of cross-border projects is necessary.

Interreg IV B


In the context of transnational cooperation (Strand "INTERREG " B ) the "European territorial cooperation " promoted by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF ) transnational cooperation aimed at integrated territorial development. This means that projects should take into account both the spatial conditions, such as infrastructure, resources, settlement patterns, economic, social, ecological and cultural aspects, as well as impacts on other areas in the respective territory to support a balanced spatial development. In addition, policies at national, transnational and European level, such as the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) or the EU's Territorial Agenda should be taken into account. With INTERREG IV B, the European Commission is promoting under INTERREG II C (1996-1999) and tested by INTERREG III B (2000-2006) further developed transnational cooperation on spatial development continues. The cooperation is based on joint programs between the partner countries involved in each case. The specified therein topics and areas of activity (so-called priorities) on cooperation will be implemented through transnational projects to be financed by the ERDF. The focus is on the promotion of innovation, promoting a sustainable environment and risk management, improve internal and external accessibility of the areas of cooperation and the promotion of attractive and competitive cities and regions.

Cooperation areas

The transnational cooperation under INTERREG IV B occurs in large transnational cooperation areas. These were re-cut in the course of the previous INTERREG cooperation for the part. Germany is involved in cooperation in five areas of cooperation:

Alpine Space Participating: Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia and Austria as well as the non-EU Member States and Switzerland, the Principality of Liechtenstein EU funding up to 2013: around 98 million euros

North Sea area Participating: Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden as well as the non-EU member Norway EU funding up to 2013: 139 million euros

Baltic Sea Region Participating: Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden as well as the non-EU member countries Norway, Russia and Belarus EU funding up to 2013: 208 million euros

North West Europe Participating: Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and United Kingdom and Switzerland, EU funding up to 2013: 355 million euros

Central Europe Participating: Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary in close cooperation with Ukraine EU funding up to 2013: 246 million euros

Characteristics of transnational projects

  • Example factor: preparation of sample solutions and generalization of the experience and learning processes
  • Transferable: development of solutions for coherent transnational development zones or corridors
  • Transnational: involvement of partners from different countries
  • Territorial: treatment of problems with meaning or effect of the cooperation area or larger parts of
  • Process-related: joint transnational development, implementation, financing and implementation

Interreg III


In the third edition (Interreg III) for the period 2000-2006 in particular, regions were promoted in outermost regions and regions along the borders with the candidate countries. The initiative had an EU-wide total budget of 4.875 billion euros. Funded Interreg - funded programs must be co-financed by the Member States. This means a maximum of 50 % of the total cost ( in Objective 1 regions, 75%) may be financed by Interreg funds.

There are three program components:

  • Interreg III A: Cross-border cooperation,
  • Interreg III B: Transnational cooperation,
  • Interreg III C: Interregional cooperation.

Through the follow-up project INTERACT stakeholders INTERREG are better networked and lessons learned will be made ​​each other better usable.

Interreg III A

Target The goal is to cross-border cooperation between neighboring local authorities. On the basis of the spatial development of joint strategies to promote and cross-border economic and social centers are created. The issue of sustainability is important to note.

Eligible areas Eligible are all areas along the internal and external borders and certain maritime regions. All must meet the criteria of NUTS -3.

Designated areas

  • Interreg IIIA project " wet grassland and stork habitats between the Alpine Rhine and Danube" with project areas in Germany Hepbacher - Leimbacher Ried, Salem, Markdorfer Eisweiher and Deggenhausertal in Lake Constance
  • Hilzingen / Engen, Gottmadingen and Gailingen in the district of Konstanz
  • Rimpacher Moss, Isny and Ravensburg Ravensburg district
  • Pfullendorf and Bad Saulgau in the district of Sigmaringen
  • Rugeller Riet
  • Bannriet
  • Swiss Reid, Ried and Volume Wolfurter Ried in Vorarlberg
  • Marientratt in the canton of St. Gallen

Interreg III B

Target The goal is to transnational cooperation between national, regional and local authorities to promote territorial integration with candidate countries of the EU and other third countries. In addition, a sustainable, harmonious and balanced development be secured.

Eligible areas The EU territory is divided into 13 so-called program zones. Depending on the local position can (usually) be only participated in an INTERREG program. However, it also is an overlap.

Interreg III C

Target The objective is the development of networks in regions that have lagging behind or are in a transition. The instruments of regional development and cohesion be promoted thereby.

Eligible areas Basically, all areas of the Community are eligible. (see: Greater Region )

Boundary concepts vs. national sovereignty and international law

The modern concept defines the border as a dividing line between sovereign and equal nation-states, as defined in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations. The face today a postmodern conception that seeks to replace the boundary line by a border area in order to emphasize the unifying function of the border more. For this limiting understanding of terms such as regionalization and integration are used. The aim of the postmodern conception is the blurring of boundaries and overcome the sovereignty of nation states. Representatives of the modern direction for the maintenance of boundaries because they perceive in addition to the cooperation also a protective function. For the protection of individual and collective identity, the maintenance of national boundaries is necessary.

The promotion of cross-border spatial planning has been recognized by the EU as a subject of its regional policy, because it serves the common interest. However, the establishment of common EU organization types endangers the established legal system of cross-border spatial planning. Given the supremacy of European law, there is a risk that the existing constitutional system is broken to protect the foreign policy interests of the nation states.