The INTERREG IVC programme priorities
The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC is implemented within the Objective 3 of Cohesion Policy - European Territorial Cooperation.
The INTERREG IVC programme is also an important tool in implementing the “Regions for Economic Change” initiative.
The INTERREG IVC supports two thematic priorities:
The thematic coverage of the priorities is designed to contribute to the accomplishments of Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas.
The "Lisbon Agenda" is aimed at making the European Union the most competitive economy in the world and achieving full employment by 2010.
This strategy, developed at subsequent meetings of the European Council, rests on three pillars:
- An economic pillar preparing the ground for the transition to a competitive, dynamic, knowledge-based economy. Emphasis is placed on the need to adapt constantly to changes in the information society and to boost research and development.
- A social pillar designed to modernise the European social model by investing in human resources and combating social exclusion. The Member States are expected to invest in education and training, and to conduct an active policy for employment, making it easier to move to a knowledge economy.
- An environmental pillar, which was added at the Gothenburg European Council meeting in June 2001, draws attention to the fact that economic growth must be decoupled from the use of natural resources.
The “Gothenburg Agenda” defined during the meeting of European Council held in June 2001 in Gothenburg, complemented the Lisbon strategy by adding an environmental dimension. The Gothenburg agenda is focused on a new emphasis to protect the environment and achieve a more sustainable pattern of development.
The Gothenburg European Council agreed on four priorities:
- Climate change: Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; Kyoto targets; Progress towards electricity generated from renewable sources.
- Sustainable transport: Decoupling gross domestic product from transport growth; Tackling rising traffic volumes, congestion, noise and pollution; Encouraging the use of and investment in environmentally friendly transport and related infrastructure.
- Public health: Respond to citizens\' concerns regarding food safety, the use of chemicals, infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance.
- Resource management: Decoupling resource use and the generation of waste from growth.
The INTERREG IVC Operational Programme was created in the course of works conducted by programming committee, constituted by the representatives of the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The representatives of the European Commission as well as external experts also took part in the works of the committee.
A basis to formulate the programme priorities and their thematic scope, was a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis (SWOT) and state of play diagnosis of the EU’s progress towards the Lisbon goals in the field of innovation and the knowledge economy as well as towards promoting a sustainable development of the EU territory.
The conclusions drawn from the research indicated the necessity of focusing on actions aiming at leveling the effects of accelerating globalization, demographic changes, new energy paradigm and climate change, which constitute the major challenges to be faced by the EU.
Firstly, it was vitally important to concentrate on the policies targeted at the improvement of European economy’s competitiveness. In order to achieve this long-term goal, the EU will have to invest in R&D infrastructures, the entrepreneurial climate and business innovation, as well as the use of ICTs. Therefore, the field of innovation and the knowledge economy, has been identified as a Priority 1 of the interregional cooperation programme INTERREG IVC.
Secondly, the need for change in the energy model linked to the decrease of oil and natural gas availability along with the increase of demand for energy, as well as the need for reduction of greenhouse emissions, responsible for growing average temperature and related natural hazards, have been recognized. Considering these necessities, it is required that the EU Member States improve their efficiency of energy use, implement renewable energy technologies, reduce pollution and promote sustainable water management as well as waste prevention. With the view to accomplish these objectives, environment and the risk prevention Priority 2, has been defined.
Priority 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Priority 1 connected with the Lisbon agenda, aims at enabling regional and local authorities, and other stakeholders at the regional level, to improve their policies, methods and capacities in the field of innovation and the knowledge economy, through the exchange and transfer of knowledge and experience between regions throughout the European Union, and the development of new policies and approaches.
This priority contributes to reducing regional disparities throughout Europe by strengthening regional innovation potential. The ambition is also to pool expertise in order to increase the overall level of regions’ competitiveness in Europe.
The renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs in the European Union places a strong emphasis on further developing the knowledge society. This is based on the assumption that Europe’s potential for future economic development is directly linked to its ability to create and promote high-value, innovative and research-based economic sectors, that are capable of competing with the best in the world.
Priority 2: Environment and the risk prevention
The aim of Priority 2 connected with the Gothenburg agenda, is also to empower the public authorities and other stakeholders to improve their policies and develop new approaches to improve the quality of environment and to increase the attractiveness of the regions in Europe by means of exchanging knowledge and experience between regions.
The European Union is committed to sustainable development, which involves protecting and improving the quality of environment. Globally, that means safeguarding the Earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity, and respecting the limits of the planet’s natural resources. An EU-wide environmental policy makes sense, because all EU citizens are entitled to the same level of environmental protection and all businesses are entitled to operate in the same competitive conditions.