Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 400 million
To support innovative actions aimed mainly at exploring new approaches to economic and social development that encourage cooperation and the exchange of experience between actors in local and regional development.


Endowed with a budget of ECU 70 billion for the period 1994-1999, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the principal Community financial instrument pursuing the objective of economic and social cohesion within the European Union. The main part of the ERDF is mobilized to finance programmes implementing development strategies decided between the eligible Member States and the Commission, as set out in the Community Support Frameworks and the Single Programming Documents.

In addition to these substantial interventions, smaller-scale innovative actions for regional development are implemented under Article 10 of the ERDF Regulation (2083/93 Official Journal No L 193 of 31.7.1993). Consisting mainly of pilot projects and studies, Article 10 innovation activities are, for the most part, aimed at exploring new approaches to economic and social development which encourage cooperation and the exchange of experience between actors in local and regional development.

For the period 1995-1999, Article 10 actions are conducted within the framework of three programmes: Interregional Cooperation and Regional Economic Innovation; Actions in Spatial Planning; and Urban Pilot Actions.

In contrast to other interventions under the ERDF, innovation measures supported under Article 10 may be carried out in regions not normally eligible for support under the Structural Funds. However, in terms of the overall proportion of total assistance and the levels of financing, priority goes to the following areas: Objective 1 (structural adjustment for regions whose development is lagging behind), Objective 2 (economic and social conversion of areas in decline), Objective 5b (diversification of vulnerable rural areas in decline) and Objective 6 (development of sparsely inhabited regions).

Innovative actions under Article 10 of the ERDF were first launched in 1989 for a five-year period. Benefiting from a budget of ECU 326 million, pilot projects and studies during this period focused on such themes as spatial planning ("Europe 2000+"), cross-border cooperation, cooperation networks between towns and regions (PACTE, RECITE, ECOS, OUVERTURE) and issues relating to urban problems.

It is worth noting that after two years, cross-border cooperation measures carried out under Article 10 developed into the INTERREG initiative, one of the largest Community Initiatives. In the same way, the urban pilot projects of 1989-1993 now form the basis of the URBAN Community Initiative which was launched in 1994.


No details are available for this section.


Innovative actions for regional development are implemented by the European Commission within the framework of the ERDF Regulation (No 20863/93, Official Journal No L 193 of 31.7.1993). The Commission is assisted by the Advisory Committee on the Development and Conversion of regions.

For the period 1995-1999, a budget of roughly ECU 400 million has been allocated to implement activities under Article 10 of the ERDF which are grouped around four themes:

- Inter-regional, intra and extra-Community cooperation (ECU 180 million);
- Innovation for local and regional development (ECU 90 million);
- Spatial planning (ECU 45 million);
- Urban Policy (ECU 80 million).

These four themes translate into three programmes: Interregional Cooperation and Regional Economic Innovation (for actions linked to the first two themes above); Actions in Spatial Planning (covering the third theme); and Urban Pilot Actions (covering the fourth theme).

The three programmes are implemented on the ground by eight pilot projects which are executed by means of calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The eight pilot projects concern:

- Internal inter-regional cooperation;
- External inter-regional cooperation;
- Cooperation in the Information Society;
- Cooperation in innovation and technology transfer;
- Cooperation in new sources of jobs;
- Cooperation with a cultural theme;
- Pilot projects in spatial planning;
- Urban pilot projects.

The specific procedures and modalities for implementing the innovative actions for regional development vary between the three programmes. In addition, the information packs which accompany the calls for proposals under the eight pilot projects provide more specific details on the implementation procedures, including areas covered under the call, eligibility and selection criteria, funding, monitoring, etc.

In general, however, there are eight main steps between the decision to launch a call for proposals and the realization of a pilot project:

- Publication of calls for proposals in the Official Journal of the European Communities:
For each kind of pilot project, one or several calls for proposal are published in the Official Journal;

- Additional Information:
Regional or local authorities and other organizations may obtain further information on each separate call for proposals after its publication in the Official Journal;

- Cooperation exchanges:
For each call for proposals, the Commission organizes a meeting for information and exchange of views for local authorities and other interested parties, usually in the framework of Directoria;

- Submission of project proposals:
Prior to the deadline specified in the call for proposals, candidates submit their pilot project proposals to the European Commission;

- Submission of projects:
The selection of projects to be supported under Article 10 of the ERDF is made by the Commission based on a set of pre-agreed criteria (the Commission is assisted in the selection of projects by a group of independent experts);

- Information:
The relevant Permanent Representatives of the Member States are informed of the projects selected and have 15 days in which to react;

- Financial commitment:
The Commission awards a financial grant to each project which has been selected;

- Implementation:
Project promoters usually have two to three years to conclude their projects.

Since 1992, the Commission has organized Directoria sessions which serve as a forum for cooperation exchanges between local and regional authorities. For the period 1995-1999, the Directoria will serve as a mechanism through which pilot projects are developed in response to calls for proposals launched for Article 10 measures. In this regard, the Directoria have the following objectives:

- To enable the Commission to inform regional authorities on calls for proposals related to Article 10;
- To compare experiences of cooperation projects with case studies of completed projects;
- To offer the relevant authorities the opportunity to identify project partners and to help them organize multiregional pilot projects.

In order to assure adequate information flows from the Member States, an annual report on the implementation and the results of the different programmes implemented under Article 10 of the ERDF will be sent to the Advisory Committee on the Development and Conversion of Regions. This is intended to facilitate exchanges on the mechanisms for distributing information on the most promising experiences.
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