Following on from interregional cooperation and networks, since the start of the 2007-2013 programming period, a single programme – Interreg IVC – has covered the whole of the European Union. The Interreg IVC programme is a network programme that comes under the “European territorial cooperation” objective and is co-financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). Its budget amounts to €321 million of ERDF funding. It was approved in September 2007 by the European Commission. The programme’s objective is to pursue interregional cooperation that is focused on the two priorities of innovation and the knowledge economy, as well as on the environment and risk prevention. The countries concerned are the member countries of the European Union and Switzerland and Norway.
Networking and the exchange of experience are facilitated via the three network programmes Interact (support for organisations that manage cooperation programmes), Urbact (thematic networks for cities) and Espon (the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion).
For the 2014-2020 programming period, according to the European Commission’s proposal in October 2011, “interregional cooperation should aim to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy by encouraging exchange of experience between regions to enhance design and implementation of operational programmes under the “investment for growth and jobs” goal. It should, in particular, foster cooperation between innovative research-intensive clusters and exchanges between researchers and research institutions, based on “regions of knowledge” and “research potential in convergence and outermost regions” under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research.”