Cross-border Territorial Cooperation: Belgium-Netherlands


 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to cooperation between European regions at crossborder level

Adoption of the Operational Programme for Cross-border Cooperation Belgium-Netherlands for 2007-2013

Operational Programme for Cross-border Cooperation Belgium-Netherlands 2007-2013 – “INTERREG Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland” – Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

On 15 November 2007, the European Commission approved a European Territorial Cooperation Programme for cross-border cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands for the 2007-2013 period.

Within the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, the “INTERREG Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland 2007-2013” Programme involves Community support to the 16 NUTS III border areas in both countries as well as 12 areas adjacent to the NUTS III-area. The total budget of the Programme is just under €190 million. Community investment through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to just under €95 million.

Purpose and aim of the programme

The “INTERREG Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland 2007-2013” Programme is the fourth one in a consecutive series of cross-border co-operation programmes between the two countries within the framework of the INTERREG Community Initiatives for the periods 1990-93, 1994-99 and 2000-06. The overall objective of the Programme is to develop of a strong and sustainable region by supporting cross-border initiatives in a number of fields.

As the area is already one of the most integrated border regions in Europe, the “INTERREG IV Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland 2007-2013 Programme” shall focus on three themes: people, environment and growth. The participating Member States are particularly keen to build on past cooperation and to increase synergies between the two sides of the border in the fields of innovation, research and education. As the employment rate is high in the area, efforts will be concentrated on removing remaining institutional and administrative obstacles to further cooperation.

Expected impact of the investments
Efforts to reach results that are comparable to those achieved by the previous Programmes shall continue. Particular attention will be given to improving the living environment of the border population, a key factor for an area that is very densely populated. It is expected that innovation will not only contribute to economic growth, but that it will also have a positive impact in other fields such as joint environmental resource management and joint social care facilities.

A series of indicators will make it possible to evaluate what impact the Programme will have on the population, on the environment and on the economic wealth of the region.

The following priorities represent the structure of the “INTERREG IV Grensregio Vlaanderen-Nederland 2007-2013” Programme:

Priority 1: Economic development [approximately 50.0% of total amount of funding]

Specific objectives of this priority include:
* providing tools for private and public institutions that support entrepreneurship and innovation to collaborate across the border;
* stimulating links between the academic world and the business sector in the field of research and development (R&D);
* supporting cross-border business activities.

Priority 2: Environment [approximately 24.0% of total amount of funding]

The area is densely populated, but it also holds precious natural resources that need to be preserved and protected. Heavy traffic and intense industrial activity make it necessary for civil rescue services on both sides of the border to cooperate for the purpose of risk prevention. Ecological disasters induce serious consequences in urban areas. Cooperation in order to reduce risks and to manage consequences is therefore highly important.

Priority 3: People [approximately 20.0% of total amount of funding]

People play a crucial role in cross-border cooperation if they can exchange experiences and make joint decisions that affect their everyday lives. The goal of this priority is to pave the way for such opportunities in a number of fields, such as culture, social integration and social care.

Priority 4: Technical assistance to the process of cross-border co-operation [approximately 6.0% of total amount of funding]

The Programme employs technical assistance during its implementation. Financial support covers administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Managing Authority: POM Antwerpen – Antwerpen, Belgium
The institution in charge of the overall implementation of the programme is the Belgian Province of Antwerp, which has already performed this task during the previous 2000-2006 Programme. The Joint Technical Secretariat, also situated in Antwerp, will provide the necessary support to the managing authority.

Contact details:
Ms Tanja Mattheus
Provincie Antwerpen
22 Koningin Elisabethlei 22
2018 Antwerpen
Tel: 00 32 3 240 56 04
Fax: 00 32 3 240 58 79

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