On 29 May 2018, the European Commission has published draft regulations for the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programming period. Among these texts is the proposed Regulation on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (INTERREG, 2018/0199(COD)) which features a new INTERREG Component 5 on Interregional Innovation Investments, financed at almost €1 billion, representing 11,5% of the Interreg budget. This component 5 aims to be dedicated to interregional innovation investments through the commercialisation and scaling up of interregional innovation projects having the potential to encourage the development of European value chains. This would take on board the work already initiated by the RIS3 and its Thematic Platforms linking further regions having similar smart specialization as well as allow for synergies with Horizon Europe programme (HEU), for example concerning technology infrastructures. Among others, this new INTERREG component 5 would complement the Horizon Europe Pillar III’s innovation ecosystems area by facilitating interregional collaboration and supporting targeted investments aiming among others to increase the capacity of regional innovation eco-systems in less developed regions.
In parallel, the EC proposal 2018/0196 (COD) laying down common provisions for the different Cohesion Policy funds, a new provision offers to Member States/Regions the possibility to transfer up to 5% of their Cohesion Policy resources to another EU fund (on a voluntary basis). This new provision, offered only as an option and not an obligation, would allow regions ready to further co-invest in other EU instruments such as Horizon Europe (HEU) to do so. This would be of particular interest when looking at the future HEU partnerships (e.g. future JTIs). Indeed, this provision would allow regions to enter key EU industrial partnerships linking their regional actors to key (global) industrial value chains identified in their RIS3 strategies (especially key when national investments may be lacking).
EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative very much welcome the new component 5 and the new possibility of transferring resources between EU programmes for the regions politically courageous enough to do so: both could be key drivers to achieve synergies between the Cohesion Policy and other programmes, in particular Horizon Europe. These two new possibilities are offering concrete solutions to synergy of EU funds which have been lacking so far. EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative therefore call on the European Parliament and the Council to show strong support to those two EC proposals in their current negotiations while preserving the proposed budgets for both.
EARTO, the Vanguard Initiative and their experts remain ready to further discuss these recommendations with the European Institutions’ representatives