The CPMR recently took part in a workshop on Maritime Cooperation organised by Interact’s Knowledge of the Sea Network, where discussions focused on maritime cooperation in Interreg Programmes and how it can be developed further.

Participation in this workshop, held on in Porto on 21-22 November, is part of the CPMR’s work on the future configuration of European Territorial Cooperation with its Geographical Commissions.

Interact’s Knowledge of the Seas Network brings together EU funding programmes supporting maritime cooperation across borders and maritime experts and stakeholders from all over Europe. Besides promoting maritime cooperation supported by EU funding at events like the European Maritime Day, the network regularly meets to exchange and discuss relevant themes.

Discussions mainly focused on a draft document on Maritime Cooperation developed by Interact as part of their discussions with the Interreg’s Managing Authorities. This document reflects on maritime cooperation in interested Interreg programmes.

Regarding the two main issues discussed, participants considered:

  • Why is it important to develop maritime cooperation in the framework of Interreg Programmes? Most answers from participants focussed on the nature of maritime issues which demands joint answers and coordinates approaches.
  • What is needed to boost maritime cooperation? Participants mentioned the lack of knowledge about maritime opportunities in the Programmes (both from projects holders’ and Managing Authorities’ perspective). It was mentioned that Cross-border Programmes are a major opportunity to support maritime activities on a territorial basis.

Participants agreed that Interreg Cross-Border and Transnational Interreg Programmes are a great tool to support maritime activities in the regions.

The data collected by the European Commission’s Keep permanent database illustrates this. Keep gathers data regarding projects and beneficiaries of EU cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation programmes among the member States, and between member States and neighbouring countries.

As of 10 November 2017, there were 619 projects, with 3729 project partners, and an EU funding of approximatately EUR 787 m dealing with ‘coastal management and maritime issues’.

Interact will continue this discussion on how maritime Interreg cooperation can benefit from and contribute to regional strategic frameworks in the coming months with the contribution of the CPMR.