The Interreg Baltic Sea Region’s programme document has been on the European Commission’s desk since 4 September 2014. This does not mean that the programming bodies’ job is already done. During last week’s meeting in Kraków, the Joint Programming Committee’s Task Force agreed on the most important milestones towards practical programme implementation. These will be set out in the Programme Manual, which is the major guidance for all future applicants. It is expected that the Joint Programming Committee will approve the Programme Manual at its next meeting, in Warsaw, on 25 November 2014. This would open the door to announcing the dates for the first call for applications during the Programme Conference on the following day.
It was the first meeting of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region’s programming bodies in southern Poland. Its relationship to the Baltic Sea Region roots back into the 14th and 15th century when Kraków was the capital of the Kingdom of Poland, and a member of the Hanseatic League. Along its way, the Vistula River passes Kraków, and pours into the Baltic Sea near Gdansk.
Under prepation: The manual for applicants
The Programme Manual will translate the occasionally abstract provisions of the official Programme document into hands-on guidance. Applicants will find transparent information about assessment and selection criteria for future projects following the two-step approach (read more). The Programme Manual will also clarify that in the future, Programme rules will be the first and foremost reference for applicants. For the sake of clarity, national rules will be applied only if the Programme does not provide related specifications. The objective is to provide as much certainty to applicants and future project partners as possible without neglecting the legal provisions and requirements for controlling EU taxpayers’ money.
Committed: ENI funding for Interreg Baltic Sea Region
At its meeting on 17 September, the ENI Committee has approved an allocation of euro 8.8 millions from the European Neighbourhood Instrument to Interreg Baltic Sea Region. Final endorsement of the decision is expected for late October. These funds are earmarked to support partners from Russia and Belarus in joint projects. Before that can happen, bilateral Financing Agreements with the European Commission will have to be negotiated and concluded. At this point it is not clear when this will be done. For the first call for applications, future applicants are invited to include cooperation partners from Russia and Belarus. Yet their participation will have to be financed from other than Programme sources.