European Programmes


Since the 2007-2013 programming period, European territorial cooperation, which previously came under the Interreg Community Initiative programme, has become a fully-fledged objective of cohesion policy, thereby signalling the recognition of its importance by the European Union.

There are three strands to European territorial cooperation:

The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in December 2009, reinforced the legitimacy of regional and local players (subsidiarity) and of the European Union’s territorial approach (territorial cohesion).

According to the Territorial Agenda 2020, which was approved in May 2011 under Hungary’s presidency by the European ministers responsible for spatial planning and territorial development, territorial cooperation initiatives must be focused on long-term territorial cohesion objectives, based on the experience of the Interreg and the integrated macro-regional strategies, such as the pioneering initiatives in the Baltic Sea and Danube regions.


For the 2014-2020 period, The cohesion policy is structured around two major objectives: "Investment for growth and jobs" and "European Territorial Cooperation".

The architecture of the cohesion policy for this programming period consists of:

  • Regulations,
  • a European strategy document, the Common Strategic Framework,
  • national documents, the Partnership Agreements,
  • and programming documents, the Operational Programmes.

The Regulations relating to the 2014-2020 cohesion policy were adopted on 17 December 2013:

  • a regulation laying down common provisions (CPR), which introduces 11 thematic objectives,
  • a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) regulation,
  • a European Social Fund (ESF) regulation,
  • for the first time, a separate regulation for European Territorial Cooperation (ETC),
  • and an EGTC regulation, amending the 2006 regulation (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation),
  • a European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) regulation,
  • a Cohesion Fund regulation.

In order to implement a territorial approach, the regulations also provide for the creation of tools such as ITI (integrated territorial investment) and CLLD (community-led local development), which can also be used in the cross-border context and be implemented by EGTC or entities of a similar nature.

Aspects relating to European territorial cooperation must now be systematically included in Partnership Contracts, whereas this was optional in the previous period.

The Common Strategic Framework sets out common provisions for the funds it covers (cohesion policy, rural development and maritime and fisheries policy). Its objective is to help establish the strategic priorities for the new programming period (2014-2020) in the Member States and their regions.

The implementation of cohesion policy for the programming period is framed by the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the years 2014 to 2020, which was passed on 19 November 2013 by the European Parliament, and finally approved by the Council on 2 December 2013. The sum allocated to European territorial cooperation has been raised for the 2014-2020 programming period to 8,948,260,000 euros (2011 prices).
More info

Partnership agreement and operational programmes in France

A national consultation process was launched on 20 December 2012 by the DATAR, implemented in parallel with the definition of the operational programmes, to provide input for the French Partnership Agreement. This document defines the strategic priorities in France of the application of the European funds for the 2014-2020 period. In this context, a series of seventeen thematic and territorial consultation seminars were organised, in which the MOT took part in order to highlight the specific aspects of cross-border territories.
The French Partnership Agreement was adopted by the European Commission on 8 August 2014, and includes an amount of € 3 021.2 million (ERDF) for European territorial cooperation (more info).
All regional operational programmes were submitted by the managing authorities to the European Commission. The European territorial cooperation programmes should have been submitted no later than 22 September 2014. The European Commission has six months to validate the programmes.
In France, subsequent to the act on modernisation of territorial public action and affirmation of metropolitan areas (MAPAM), the government devolves to the regions, at their request, all or part of the management of the European programmes, either as managing authority or by management delegation.

Now accessible on the DG REGIO website, the cohesion policy allocations for the 2014-2020 programming period to each member country.

Programming periods

  • Interreg 1990-1993
  • Interreg II 1994-1999 
  • Interreg III 2000-2006
  • Interreg IV 2007-2013
  • 2014-2020 "European territorial cooperation" objective: for the "European territorial cooperation" objective, the ERDF supports cross-border, transnational and inter-regional cooperation.