Cross-border or Transnational – Does it matter?

Monday, 10 January, 2022

Cross-border or Transnational – Does it matter? A collection of thoughts from Interreg authorities and practitioners.

Within the programming period 2021-2027, calls for a more integrated approach to sectorial and/or territorial policy implementation has been raised. In this context, the Commission through the Orientation Papers encouraged a stronger cooperation between Transnational and Cross-border programmes operating within the same area (including pre-accession and Interreg Next). Reinforcing synergies between programmes, it would lead to better overcome territorial common challenges and to a stronger Interreg impact in the area.

Based on the previous statement, the first step is to understand what the difference between transnational and cross-border programmes is? Does such difference really matter? To whom? And in which terms? How do their results impact the territory?

The views presented by 18 territorial cooperation authorities and practitioners encompasses the perspective of EU Institutions officers, member states representatives, and macroregional stakeholders, as well as programme authorities, project beneficiaries and experts. Their opinions show that there is not a unique response to this question, neither a clear perception on what such difference means e.g. regarding the type of outputs both type of strands can deliver in practice. The diversity of understandings also illustrates how the relation between cross-border and transnational cooperation is perceived depending on the geographic area in Europe, the organisational background or cooperation experiences.

At the same time, one can see as a guiding principle that the difference between transnational and cross border remain more of an operational question which helps to identify the strengths, for what each strand of actions and interventions (cross-border or transnational) is good for, which parts of the bigger picture can be solved by either the one or the other, combining forces and complementing each other (in this case between cross-border and transnational elements and operations), bring the opportunity to strengthen the impact in the respective territory (European, national, regional, local, functional area, territorial strategies, etc.).

It is important to keep in mind that it has been compiled at the turn from the 2014-2020 to the 2021-2027 period and it is mainly based on the how the question cross-border/transnational is perceived at this moment. The new programming period 2021-2027 might now bring some changes. In this context, it is important to underline that, for the period 2021-2027, the Interreg community will be extended to Interreg “NEXT” programmes. In the past, such programmes were financed by the European Neighbourhood Instrument with a different concept of cross-border than the one of Interreg programmes across internal EU borders. For 2021-2021, Interreg NEXT programmes will adopt the same kind of coverage as all Interreg programmes, being considered transnational (larger transnational territories or around sea basins) or cross-border (land or maritime adjacent borders).

Read more in Interact’s website.

For further information, please contact mercedes.acitores@

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