What is INTERREG Atlantic Area?
As part of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy, INTERREG Atlantic Area supports transnational cooperation projects in 37 Atlantic regions of five countries: France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, contributing to the achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion. The Programme overall objective is to implement solutions to answer to regional challenges in the fields of innovation, resource efficiency, environment and cultural assets, supporting regional development and sustainable growth. With a total budget of EUR 185 million, which comprises a fund allocation above EUR 140 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Programme focuses on four main priorities axes and specific objectives related:
Priority 1: Stimulating innovation and competitiveness (EUR 62.8 million)
Adresses the challenge of accelerating intelligent growth by supporting the creation of the right environment, to stimulate innovation and increase trade and exports, working in accordance with the Regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) concept, combining strengths, competences and R&I. It will therefore support cooperation among actors to work on new product and service development, technology transfer and access to the market. Priority 1 has two objectives:
1.1 Enhancing innovation capacity through cooperation to foster competitiveness
1.2 Strengthening the transfer of innovation results to facilitate the emergence of new products, services and processes.
2: Fostering resource efficiency (EUR 39.6 million)
Support the development - including the social acceptance and use - of renewable sources of energy, especially those deriving from the sea and promoting the transition to a resource-efficient society. Low carbon economy is a key issue for territorial sustainable development and for EU objectives and for the mitigation of climate change that has strong consequences in Atlantic regions. Priority 2 has two objectives:
2.1 Fostering renewable energies and energy efficiency
2.2 Fostering green growth, eco-innovation and environmental efficiency
3: Strengthening the territory's resilience to risks of natural, climate and human origin (EUR 20.3 million)
Promotes a better management of the environment, so that regional authorities and relevant stakeholders are better prepared to adapt to climate change and to potential risks occurring in the Atlantic territory. This priority will also have an integrated territorial management focus incorporating aspects related to the prevention and management of those common risks that Atlantic regions face and will continue to face in the future, deriving from both natural and human activities including maritime economic activities. Priority 3 has one objective:
3.1 Strengthening risk management systems
4: Enhancing biodiversity and the natural and cultural assets (EUR 52.6 million)
Adresses the need of protecting the environment and promoting cultural identity in order to make the Atlantic region a more attractive place for local communities and visitors. Securing its vast natural heritage and the richness of the existing natural resources, as well as further protecting the cultural heritage that gives the Atlantic Area its unique character will be key for promoting a sustainable economic and territorial development. Priority4 has two objectives:
4.1 Improving the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems’ services
4.2 Enhancing natural and cultural assets to stimulate economic development
The main reference document of the programme is the INTERREG Atlantic Area Cooperation Programme.