A bridge for Europe

The European Interreg Program

The territorial cooperation in Europe, also known as Interreg, is an instrument aimed at fostering economic and social development by removing cross-border obstacles between states and regions.

Interreg program. Group of people smiling working on PCs.

Interregional cooperation

What is Interreg?

Interreg is a territorial cooperation program co-funded by the European Union (EU) covering the 27 member states, Switzerland, and Norway.

The program was created with the objective, embodied in the EU’s Cohesion Policy, to equalize economic and social inequalities within the European territory in order to pursue harmonious and sustainable regional development, as well as European cohesion and competitiveness.

As such, Interreg is the main instrument for implementing the Cohesion Policy mentioned and provided for in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in Articles 174-178.

In order to promote its overall harmonious development, the Union shall develop and pursue its actions leading to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion. Art. 174 TFEU

The ABCs of territorial cooperation

To advance territorial cooperation in Europe, the Interreg program is structured through three branches:

A bit of history

The beginnings of the program

Over more than 20 years of history, the program has implemented well over 800 cooperation projects involving more than 2,000 organizations.


In the 90s, the European Commission launches the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) and begins the first experiments in cooperation between border regions.

At first, cross-border cooperation focuses on internal EU borders (Interreg I).


With Interreg II, the program is also extends to borders outside the Union.


A new strand of Interreg, later named Interreg B, dedicated to transnational cooperation is launched.


Interreg III kicks off and branch C is born with which to consolidate support for interregional cooperation. Within Interreg IIIC four programs are developed divided first by geographical area and later by thematic area.

In total, the intervention sections become three: A. Cross-border cooperation; B. Transnational cooperation; C. Interregional cooperation.


A new EC regulation on “European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation” (EGTCs) is adopted to provide internal territorial cooperation with a more solid and homogeneous legal basis.


A specific regulation concerning territorial cooperation actions supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is adopted for the 2014-2020 program cycle.

To reinforce the thematic concentration of cooperation actions and their focus on results, it is stipulated that Interreg programs should invest at least 80% of the budget in up to 4 thematic objectives shared by the European Structural Investment Funds (EIS).


With Interreg VI, the European Commission wanted to harmonize programs, insisting on thematic concentration, and accelerate green transformation.

Italian-Austrian cooperation

What is Interreg Italy-Austria?

The Interreg Italy-Austria program supports cross-border cooperation in the border region between Italy and Austria.

The Interreg IT-AT program area

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@Credits by Abteilung Europa, Autonome Provinz Bozen - Südtirol
Data on the Interreg program @Credits by Abteilung Europa, Autonome Provinz Bozen - Südtirol
Mountains with clouds @Credits by Envato Elements Pty Ltd.

Interreg IT-AT


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European legislation

Interreg - The European frame of reference

The program is part of the broader framework of the European regional policy (Cohesion Policy), which is the EU’s most important investment priority. By means of this policy, the EU seeks to promote job creation, competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development and improved quality of life without leaving any region behind. At the same time, it aims to help member countries achieve a wide range of communal goals, for example those contained in the European Green Deal.

Regional Policy

The Regional Policy is the EU's most important investment policy.

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Cohesion Policy 2021-2027

The Cohesion Policy strengthens economic, social, and territorial cohesion in the EU.

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Cohesion Report

The report assesses economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU.

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European Green Deal

The European Green Deal seeks to transform the EU into a modern, efficient and competitive economy.

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Territorial Agenda 2030

The Territorial Agenda 2030 provides an action-oriented framework to promote territorial cohesion in Europe.

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Macroregional strategies

The strategies enable better cooperation in the macro-regions.

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The macro-strategy for the Alpine region.

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