Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 450 million

Official Journal Reference

C 200 of 1996-07-10
To help restore the balance between different areas of the European Union through structuring measures that serve the Community's interests; to foster transnational cooperation initiated by the Member States and other authorities with responsibilities for spatial planning; to improve the impact of Community policies on spatial development; and to help Member States and their regions to take a preventative and cooperative approach to the problems of water resources management posed by floods and drought.


In July 1994, the Commission published guidelines for the implementation of transnational cooperation (strand A) and selected energy networks (strand B) under the INTERREG II initiative (Official Journal No C of 1.7.1994). The purpose of this present programme, INTERREG II C, is to establish guidelines for operational programmes concerning transnational cooperation on spatial planning.

INTERREG II C is entirely distinct from the above-mentioned strands A and B of the original initiative both in terms of its objectives and the types of programmes supported. There are also differences vis-à-vis the extent of the area covered, the types of partnership it seeks to promote and the emphasis placed on the development of a strategic vision for the spatial planning of the areas in question.

The new initiative is composed of the three following elements:

- Spatial planning and transnational cooperation measures;
- Spatial planning and transnational cooperation against flooding;
- Spatial planning and action against drought.

With regard to transnational cooperation measures, support is provided for the joint development of transnational groups going beyond simple cross-border cooperation and forming groupings involving at least three countries (at least two of which must be EU Member States). These activities supplement any transnational cooperation agreements already signed by Member States in relation to territorial development and, more specifically, spatial planning.

In light of the increasing spatial development problems faced by various Member States relating to flooding, the initiative will seek to promote three types of measures:

- Joint drafting and implementation of cooperative plans and programmes for the development of river basins;
- Spatial planning measures that help prevent floods;
- Cooperation between Member states and local and regional authorities aimed at developing the above-mentioned measure, in particular through the pooling of know-how and experience.

Community participation in the area of spatial planning and actions against drought promote the two following types of measures:

- Actions contributing to sustainable territorial development through the avoidance of excessive water consumption whilst encouraging a rational and equitable distribution of water resources;
- Cooperation between Member States and local and regional authorities on the above-mentioned measures, in particular through the pooling of know-how and experience (including that of European and Mediterranean non-Member countries).

Full details of the eligible measures within the three elements of the initiative are contained in the "Subdivisions" section of this record.


(a) Spatial planning and transnational cooperation:

- Preparatory actions for the implementation of transnational strategies, notably the identification of environmentally sensitive areas or areas that may benefit from priority measures to assist spatial planning;
- Measures for the improvement of the territorial impact of Community policies, excluding the financing of infrastructures;
- Actions to improve the territorial management of the marine areas at the periphery of the Union, from the point of view of both economic development and environmental protection and improvement;
- Measures to develop the coastal areas of the European Union (e.g. integrated coastal development, prevention and control of sea pollution, and environmental protection);
- Measures to restore, develop and protect areas affected by permanent geographical handicaps (e.g. mountains, arctic areas) and to manage the countryside;
- Integrated measures preparing, promoting or accompanying sustainable development and the integrated management of resources in given categories of zones);
- Economic development measures with a view to sustainable development (e.g. promotion of high-quality tourism, development of networks of medium-sized towns, diversification in rural areas, and cooperation using information and communication technologies);
- Measures for sustainable development of the mountainous regions of the Union as living, economic and natural areas;
- Measures for improving transnational cooperation in the field of spatial planning with non-Member States;
- The promotion of technology transfer and cooperation networks, research and higher education and technology transfer centres, and the creation of information systems benefiting remote areas in particular (this could include ERDF support for studies, pilot projects and the development of human resources);

(b) Spatial development planning and transnational cooperation against flooding;

(c) Spatial development planning and action against drought:

Eligible measures:

- Identification of sensitive areas or areas that may benefit from priority measures to assist spatial planning [b and c];
- Studies on the hydraulic and ecological balance of major river basins, on the causes of flooding, in particular in relation to land use policies and practices, preparation of joint plans, feasibility studies, application of expertise, experience and techniques relating to water conservation [b and c];
- Drawing up measures and guidelines concerning the definition of priorities and strategies on the use of land and spatial planning for sustainable hydrological management [b and c];
- Preparation of joint integrated plans for the sustainable and improved use of available resources, with a view to avoiding overuse [only c];
- Improvement of measures relating the prevention of flooding in drainage basins (such as improvement of dykes and water management measures) especially when these are attributable to poor physical planning [only b];
- Studies on the water resources and ecological balance in areas with low rainfall [c]; - Improvement of irrigation techniques, careful choice of crops and cultivation methods, reduction of consumption, reduction of losses from supply systems, management of seasonal peaks, reuse of used water, identification of measures with quantifiable economic objectives and value as examples, in particular in the agricultural sector [b and c];
- Promotion of good practice:
. Systems of supervision, coordination and exchange of information (in particular using computer systems), as well as emergency intervention planning;
. Protection and preparation of the sustainable restoration of sensitive areas;
. Measures to raise the awareness of the groups particularly concerned;
. Joint definition of basic training requirements;
. Promotion of implementation activities that can be used for demonstration purposes;
. Incentive measures.


Operational programmes and projects supported under INTERREG II C are jointly financed by the Community and the Member States. The total contribution from the Community's Structural Funds to strand C of the INTERREG II initiative is estimated at ECU 415 for the period 1995-1999. In terms of Community expenditure, priority goes to regions classified as eligible under Objectives 1, 2, 5(b) and 6 of the Structural Funds.

Third countries cooperating in the implementation f the programme and receiving funding from other Community programmes - notably PHARE (for Central and Eastern European countries), TACIS (for the CIS) and MEDA (for Mediterranean countries) - should submit their applications for assistance under their respective programmes following the procedures governing them.

All proposals should include an assessment of the situation and indicate the specific objectives of the action. Proposals should be accompanied by a schedule and a statement of the criteria and procedures for implementation, monitoring and assessment. During and after the programming period, the Commission will assess, in partnership with the Member States, the results of the programmes submitted.
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