European territorial cooperation programmes

Guidance about the 9 European programmes overseen by DLUHC in which the UK takes part that promote cooperation and economic development across member states.

Applies to England

The EU Withdrawal Agreement ensures ETC Programmes will continue with funding until the end of the programming period in 2023. Information regarding any funding opportunities is published on the Programmes’ websites.

ETC programmes are separately adapting to support project partners through the COVID-19 crisis. Each Managing Authority is setting out what it means for their programme and project partners. Please contact your lead partner, relevant Joint Secretariat / Managing Authority, or visit the relevant programme website, details of which can be found below. Alternatively, you can contact the DLUHC ETC team via

View additional information and guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.


European Territorial Cooperation programmes, which are sometimes known as Interreg programmes, are designed to promote cooperation between member states on shared challenges and opportunities.

Across Europe, the total budget for these programmes is approximately €10 billion, covering 107 programmes. The UK does not participate in all of these programmes, but there are 15 programmes that cover all or parts of the UK. Nine of these involve England, and these are overseen by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

As the programmes work across borders projects must involve organisations from more than one member state; the best projects will have a wide coverage of different organisations from across the programme area, as well as a clear plan to spread the results of their project more widely.

Projects are coordinated by a ‘lead partner’, who ensures that the project partnership functions effectively. Programmes employ staff to support the generation of good project ideas, and then to manage the projects chosen for delivery. Each programme has slightly different arrangements and requirements, which can be found below.

Role of DLUHC

DLUHC acts for the UK by:

  • influencing the shape of the programmes for achieving greater impact and effective use of investment
  • participating in meetings that report on programme progress and make joint decisions (with other participating member states) about projects to be supported
  • liaising with and managing the programme contact points who advise and support potential UK applicants
  • ensuring effective verification of expenditure claims of UK project partners to minimise any irregularities and more generally ensuring that expenditure is eligible

For any queries about the ETC programmes, please contact

UK priorities

Previous rounds of these programmes have not done enough to demonstrate the real impact of the money they have spent, and some poor-quality projects have been selected.

In the 2014 to 2020 programmes, we expect to see a much clearer link between the projects that are funded, and to wider economic growth policy. We expect projects to clearly articulate the need for investment, the ‘market failure’ they are addressing and the demand for their proposed solution. We expect to see projects that deliver meaningful outputs and results, with a ‘real world’ impact that will provide measurable benefits to people and businesses.

Two Seas programme

The Two Seas programme 2014 to 2020 has €257 million to invest. Its programme area is the South West, South East and East of England, coastal parts of France (Channel, North Sea), Flanders and Netherlands.

Priorities are:

  • to improve the conditions for delivery of technological and social innovation
  • promote low carbon technologies
  • adaptation to climate change

France (Channel) England programme

The Interreg IVA France (Channel) England programme has €223 million to invest. It covers areas is the South West, South East and East of England and Finistere to Pas-de-Calais in France.

Priorities are:

  • promote investment in innovation to tackle economic and societal issues
  • support low carbon economy, enhance
  • promote attractiveness of territories

North West Europe programme

The North West Europe programme 2014 to 2020 has €396 million available. It covers the whole of the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and most of Germany, Netherlands and Northern France.

Priorities are:

  • to enhance innovation performance of enterprises
  • to implement low-carbon solutions
  • to optimise (re)use of material and resources

North Sea programme

The Interreg IVB North Sea programme has €167 million to invest. It covers areas is the eastern parts of the UK, Norway and Denmark, parts of Flanders, North Western Germany, North Western Netherlands and South Western Sweden.

Priorities are to:

  • increase long-term innovation levels in the region
  • accelerate the greening of the North Sea Region economy
  • promote climate change resilience and sustainable management of North Sea eco-systems
  • to promote sustainable transport and remove bottlenecks in key network infrastructures

Atlantic Area programme

The Atlantic Area programme has €140 million to invest. It covers areas is the western parts of England and Wales, Ireland, Portugal, Northern Ireland, Scotland, France and Spain.

Priorities are to:

  • stimulate innovation and competitiveness in the region
  • promote green economic growth
  • strengthen climate change resilience and protect biodiversity and enhance ecosystems

Interreg Europe programme

Interreg Europe has €359 million to invest. Its programme area is all EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.

Priorities are to promote co-operation to improve policy and capacity in the field of:

  • research and innovation
  • SME competitiveness
  • low carbon economy
  • environment and resource efficiency

INTERACT programme

INTERACT has €39 million to act as a hub for exchanging information, best practices among co-operation programmes as a means to promote growth and change. Its programme area is all EU member states.

URBACT programme

The URBACT programme has €74 million to help cities to develop pragmatic solutions that are new and sustainable and that integrate economic, social and environmental urban topics. Its programme area is all EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.

ESPON 2020 programme

ESPON has a budget of €41 million to support the reinforcement of EU cohesion policy through the production, dissemination, and promotion of territorial evidence. It covers all the 28 EU member states and Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Published 4 March 2013
Last updated 2 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added contacts

  2. First published.