Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Innovative actions for regional development - Networks of local and/or regional authorities to carry out innovative and/or demonstrative pilot projects on spatial planning -, 1995-1999

Programme funding

EUR 20 million
To strengthen economic and social cohesion and promote sustainable development through the introduction of a cooperation network in the European Community to carry out innovative and/or demonstrative pilot projects on spatial planning in areas whose specific features make them especially vulnerable.


Under Article 10 of the Regulation governing the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (2083/93 Official Journal No L 193 of 31.7.1993), the ERDF provides support for innovative actions in regional development through a number of pilot schemes. These innovative measures aim at developing new ways of introducing innovation and technology transfer in the regional agenda through demonstration projects.

The TERRA programme is one of eight priority areas identified for support under Article 10 for the period 1995-1999. The others concern:

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

In the context of the principal aims of economic and social cohesion and sustainable development, the TERRA programme encourages local and regional authorities to view the problems affecting them in a broader European context enabling knowledge to be pooled and exchanged and common solutions found through cooperation. In particular, the programme aims to achieve the following main objectives:

- Reinforcing economic and social cohesion in the Community and promoting the sustainable development of the territory of the European Union by respecting the environment and balancing the needs of the regions and their inhabitants;

- Providing the competent authorities and regional bodies with decision-making tools;

- Encouraging the relevant authorities to take into account inter-dependence in spatial planning and, thereby, to confront certain problems through direct cooperation between the Member States and authorities;

- Developing an overall perspective on spatial planning in the European Union in its broader international context by encouraging neighbouring non-Union countries to contribute to developments through cooperation.


No details are available for this section.


The TERRA programme is implemented by DG XVI of the European Commission within the framework of Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation.

The programme is implemented by calls for proposals for the establishment of cooperation networks which carry out innovative and/or demonstrative pilot projects on spatial planning. Networks must provide for participation by a small number of local authorities in the European Community that share specific geographical and/or structural features. An indicative list of such specific features is as follows:

- Rural areas to which access is difficult;
- Areas suffering from erosion or desertification;
- Areas at risk from forest fires;
- Remote, island and Arctic areas;
- Mountain areas;
- Areas subject to earthquakes and volcanic areas;
- River basins;
- Coastal areas;
- Areas where natural assets are endangered;
- Areas where cultural assets are endangered.

All regional or local authorities in the Community which meet one or more of the above features may submit a project proposal for funding under TERRA. Networks may be trans-national, intra-national or mixed. However, in the case of intra-national networks, at least one local authority from another Member State must be accorded observer status.

The selection of projects for funding is made on the grounds of the innovative or demonstrative excellence of the proposal, with priority being accorded to proposals which conform to the following additional conditions:

- A balance between the benefit accruing to, and the responsibilities borne by, each member of the group;
- A local authority in an Objective 1 (regions whose development is lagging behind) or Objective 6 (sparsely inhabited regions) area is responsible for the network with a considerable contribution from regional and/or local authorities eligible under Objectives 1 or 6 of the ERDF;
- The network has been designed with a view to training its members and providing them with know-how by giving the competent local authority direct responsibility for the technical completion of the project;
- The know-how and expertise existing in the region is mobilized;
- A broad sweep of subject areas is dealt with overall.

Community funding towards projects may not exceed 55% of the total eligible costs in Objective 1 and 6 regions and 40% in all other areas, although the level of Community financial support decreases where the project contains private sector participants or where it will provide a return to the public authorities. In general, Community funding ranges between ECU 1 million and ECU 3 million per project. Selected projects are prohibited from receiving Community funding from any other source. Projects are expected to last between one and three years.

A technical assistance agency is to be established by the Commission to provide a link to the Commission and to provide help with the management, administrative, legal and accounting aspects of the projects during the various stages. Once established, the agency is responsible for informing the participating authorities about Community rules and providing the necessary tools to ensure maximum success (e.g. cooperation guides, models of progress reports, analytical accounting procedures, etc.).

Furthermore, the agency is to administer the working group of independent experts who will eventually be responsible for the scientific evaluation of the projects selected under the programme.
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