DOC - Europa

Brussels, 13 May 2002
Interreg: European Union to provide Euro 84.2
million for cross-border co-operation between
Mr Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Regional Policy, has announced the
approval by the Commission of a programme for cross-border co-operation
between Belgium and the Netherlands ("Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland")
to be financed by the Interreg III A Community Initiative1. The programme
provides Euro 84.2 million in financial support from the European Union. Its
main aims are to develop the economy and promote co-operation in this
cross-border region. The European funding will attract a further Euro 67.9
million in investment from the public sector and Euro 22.6 million from the
private sector, creating total resources of Euro 174.8 million.
Announcing the decision, Michel Barnier, said: “The Commission expects this
programme to make a substantial contribution to the future development of crossborder co-operation. I consider it a major step forward that these Dutch and Belgian
Euroregions, which already worked together before the INTERREG initiative was
launched, have decided to continue their co-operation within an INTERREG
programme. I expect the resulting projects to serve as examples of good practice for
other INTERREG programmes."
The "Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland" programme area has a population of about
9 million. 75% of the inhabitants live on the Belgian side in the provinces of West
Flanders, East Flanders, Antwerp and Limburg and 25% live on the Dutch side in the
provinces of Zeeland, Northern-Brabant and Limburg. The programme covers the
Euroregions of “Scheldemond” (2.7 million inhabitants) and of “Benelux
Middengebied” (6.3 million inhabitants). The economic situation of the area is
characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises in need of stimulation to
abandon national orientation by tackling obstacles to cross-border economic cooperation.
The participating countries have identified five priorities to stimulate regional
development of the border regions involved.
The programme’s priorities are:
- Development of infrastructure. Key actions promote cross-border industrial
sites, cross-border spatial planning and cross-border mobility (Community
contribution: Euro 17.3 million).
INTERREG III A: the Interreg III Community Initiative concerns ‘transeuropean cooperation, intended to
encourage the harmonious and balanced development of the Community area.’ Strand A of the Initiative
concerns ‘cross-border cooperation and the promotion of integrated regional development of border areas.’ The
Interreg III Initiative is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
- Economic and technological co-operation. Key actions focus on strategic
networking of small and medium-sized enterprises, access to innovation and the
economic importance of tourism in the area (Community contribution: Euro 23.6
- Improvement of the environment. Special attention will be paid to overcome
the risks of flooding and ground water pollution (Community contribution:
Euro 20.4 million).
- Qualification and labour market affairs. The programme will stimulate the
development of a regional labour market by co-operation of all the labour market
actors such as social partners, administrations and training centres (Community
contribution: Euro 7.3 million);
- Social integration. Key actions concern social inclusion especially for young
people and the disabled, the stimulation of a regional cultural identity and cooperation in the field of health and public administration (Community
contribution: Euro 10.1 million).
There will also be a priority providing technical assistance for managing and
monitoring the programme (Community contribution: Euro 5.5 million).
The programme aims to involve some 250 organisations and 300 enterprises to
participate and to realise some 100 socio-cultural activities.
As with all INTERREG programmes, this programme will be funded by the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.
Managing authority
The managing authority for the programme is the Province of Antwerp.
Implementation of the programme will be based on a partnership between the two
countries drawn from national, regional and local administrations, as well as social
and economic partners and non-governmental organisations. The managing
authority will be assisted in day-to-day programme management by a Joint Technical
Secretariat to be set up in Turnhout (Province of Antwerp).
Koepelsecretariaat Grensregio Vlaanderen Nederland
Secretaris Grensregio Vlaanderen – Nederland
Mevr. Ita Joosten,
Steenweg op Gierle 100 bus 660
B-2310 Turnhout
Phone: +32 14/71 11 40,
+32 14/71 11 49
With a budget of €4 875 million for the period 2000-06, the Interreg III Community
Initiative aims to encourage transeuropean co-operation in the EU and its border
It is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Interreg III programmes finance cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation measures through joint projects to improve the economy, infrastructure,
employment and the environment.
The European Commission adopts bilateral or multilateral programmes, which must
be proposed by the designated national and regional authorities.
Additional information
For further information, please consult memo 01/280 of 25 July 2001 and the
following Commission website: