The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is calling on the European Parliament and Member States to reinforce European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) within Cohesion policy after 2020.

The CPMR call follows the European Commission’s disappointing proposal to cut the ETC regulation by 12% for the post-2020 period.

In particular, the CPMR is alarmed by proposals to merge maritime cross-border programmes into a new transnational ‘component’. This would greatly jeopardise existing patterns of maritime cooperation at cross-border level.

10 key messages from an internal CPMR study carried out with its Members on the added value of INTERREG were presented at the CPMR’s Political Bureau meeting. The study provides a series of recommendations for European Territorial Cooperation for 2021-2027 and initial views on the ETC regulation issued on 29 May. 

CPMR President, Vasco Cordeiro, said: “The Commission’s decision to reduce the INTERREG budget is very concerning, as it is a unique and indispensable source of funding for cooperation across borders. The discontinuation of maritime cross-border programmes is a huge concern for CPMR regions. However, we welcome the Commission’s positive decision to leave the door firmly open for UK regions to take part in INTERREG programmes after Brexit”.

On a positive note, the CPMR welcomes the Commission proposals to provide the opportunity for the UK to participate in future INTERREG Programmes after Brexit. The CPMR has argued strongly for continued cooperation at regional level following Brexit, as set out in its Cardiff Declaration, adopted in Autumn 2017.

However, the CPMR regrets that the draft regulation limits participation in the new Interregional investment ‘component’ to EU Member States, which would exclude participation of UK nations and regions and Norwegian counties from potential projects on smart specialisation.

CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said: “It is essential to have INTERREG programmes based on territorial needs and with the strong involvement of regions. The Commission’s decision to strengthen the alignment between Interreg and macro-regional strategies is very positive but this requires strong multilevel governance of these strategies”.

Read the CPMR’s 10 messages for the future of INTERREG, based on the analysis of its questionnaire on European Territorial Cooperation, presented at the CPMR Political Bureau, held in Pärnu, Estonia on 21 June.