Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 70 million
To encourage inter-regional cooperation between towns and regions located in the European Union and those elsewhere in Europe (Central and Eastern Europe, the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, the Baltic States and the Mediterranean region).


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 pilot project "External inter-regional cooperation" is one of eight priority areas identified for support under Article 10 for the period 1995-1999. The others concern:

- Internal inter-regional cooperation;
- Cooperation in the Information Society;
- Cooperation in innovation and technology transfer;
- Cooperation in new sources of jobs;
- Economic development in the field of culture;
- Pilot projects in spatial planning;
- Urban pilot projects.

The activities under the external inter-regional cooperation pilot project build on and extend the cooperation activities carried out with countries in Central and Eastern Europe under the 1990-1994 programming period (ECOS-OUVERTURE). The geographical scope has also been broadened to include regions and towns in the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, the Baltic States and the Mediterranean region.

Activities implemented under the pilot project are aimed at:

- Reinforcing economic and social cohesion through the participation of local actors from less developed regions in future cooperation networks (east-west, north-south);

- Supporting the economic and political transition of regional authorities in Central and Eastern Europe;

- Contributing to regional development and the Modernization of local and regional administration amongst local and regional authorities in non-Community Mediterranean countries and in Central and Eastern Europe;

- Facilitating the acquisition of know-how by local and regional actors, as well as the creation of new centres of expertise;

- Developing a sense of European identity through the creation of common experience between Europeans from different spheres.


Five areas of action for projects:

- Improving the working methods of public authorities;

- Improving access for small businesses to the European market and improvement of services available to them in the field of innovation;

- Development of local potential, particularly for the purpose of job creation;

- Creation of resource centres to support the integration of women into economic life;

- Safeguarding and improving the environment.


The pilot project "External inter-regional cooperation" is implemented by DG XVI of the European Commission within the framework of Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation. It is financed by the Directorates-General for Regional Policy (DG XVI) and External Affairs (DG 1A).

Activities are carried out through cooperation projects within networks which are selected following calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Proposals for project proposals should be submitted by between three and seven partners. At least one partner must be from an eligible non-EU country (Central and Eastern Europe, the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, the Baltic States and the Mediterranean region) with the others coming from at least two different EU Member States. At least one of the partners coming from the EU Member States must have Objective 1 (regions whose development is lagging behind) or Objective 6 (sparsely inhabited regions) status.

The lead partner in the consortium may be a regional or local authority or a body set up under public, semi-public or private law. Other partners may be regional or local authorities, development agencies, chambers of commerce, other bodies undertaking work of public interest or those engaged in economic and/or social life.
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