The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020 supports integrated territorial development and cooperation for a more innovative, better accessible and sustainable Baltic Sea region. Partners from countries around the Baltic Sea work together in transnational projects on common key challenges and opportunities.
The Programme is funded by the European Union and involves the EU member states Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and northern parts of Germany, as well as the partner countries Norway, Belarus and the north-west regions of Russia.
The Programme is agreed by the participating countries and approved by the European Commission.
Belarus and Russia plan to join Interreg Baltic Sea Region. An allocation of EUR 8.8 million was earmarked from the European Neighbourhood Instrument to support partners from Russia and Belarus in joint projects. Before the Programme can grant EU funding to Russian and Belarusian partners, Financing Agreements between the Governments of each country and the European Commission will have to be negotiated and concluded. At this point it is not clear when this will be done.
What is funded?
At least three partners from three countries in the region can form a project. Projects should demonstrate clear links to needs and assets in regional development. Successful projects have transferable results and high visibility - others should benefit from the achievements of a single project.
In the period 2014-2020, the Baltic Sea Region Programme is offering funding in four thematic fields, the so called Priorities:
- Priority 1, “Capacity for innovation”, will offer support for e.g. development of innovation infrastructures, implementation of smart specialisation strategies and development of non-technological innovations.
- Priority 2, “Management of natural resources”, highlights the need to manage natural resources more efficiently. Resource efficient blue growth, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and clear waters are examples of the areas that will receive support.
- Priority 3 will concentrate on “Sustainable transport”. Here themes such as accessibility of remote areas, maritime safety, environmentally friendly shipping and urban mobility will attract project proposals.
- Priority 4, "EU Strategy support" offers support to the stakeholders of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Assistance to the Priority Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Leaders, seed money projects of the EU Strategy, organisation of Strategy Forums and other implementation tasks will be co-financed.
The Programme will group thematically linked projects into clusters. Clustering will help to coordinate activities and increase the impact of the projects. Project clusters will run as and in parallel to the “regular” projects.
How much money is available?
The Programme funds come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, EUR 263.8 million), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and Norway. Project partners co-finance activities with their own resources. The co-financing from the Programme is between 75% and 85% (for ERDF funds).
Who can apply for funds?
Public authorities from local, regional and national levels, research and training institutions, NGOs, sectoral agencies and associations and, new in this period, enterprises can also take part in projects and receive funds.
How the Programme for 2014-2020 was prepared
After intense work that started in 2012, the Joint Programming Committee, comprising national delegations from eight EU Member States (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden) as well as the neighbouring countries Norway, Belarus, and Russia, approved the Cooperation Programme on 14 May 2014, in Warsaw. After the approval by the Joint Programming Committee, the Cooperation Programme was submitted to participating EU countries and Norwegian governments for final national endorsement. On 4 September 2014 the Programme was submitted to the European Commission for approval and approved on 18 December 2014.
The preparation of the programme was organised in close interaction with stakeholders in the region, e.g. national, regional & local authorities, pan-Baltic organisations, non-public associations, academic/scientific institutions as well as other EU funding programmes
An ex-ante evaluation was carried out in accordance with Article 55 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 by external experts of the company COWI. This also included a Strategic Environmental Assessment based on the requirements of Directive 2001/42/EC.
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