European Territorial Cooperation

The European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is one of the two objectives pursued by Cohesion Policy, to promote cooperation between territories of different EU Member States through joint actions, exchanges of experience and networking between national, regional and local actors, and to foster harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the EU as a whole.


The ETC Objective is also known as Interreg, from the original name of the initiative under direct management of the European Commission, which was later conveyed, across several programming periods, into a specific objective specifically regulated by Regulation (EU) No. 1299/2013, which provides the definition of Programmes of:

  • Cross-Border Cooperation (INTERREG A) between neighbouring regions (NUTS 3) to promote integrated regional development between neighbouring regions with sea and land borders in two or more Member States or between neighbouring regions in at least one Member State and one Third Country on the EU external borders other than those covered by programmes under the Union’s external financing instruments;
  • Transnational Cooperation (INTERREG B) of larger transnational territories (NUTS 2), involving national, regional and local partners and including cross-border maritime cooperation in cases not covered by cross-border cooperation, with a view to enhancing the territorial integration of these regions;
  • Interregional cooperation(INTERREG C) which involves all EU Member States and aims to strengthen Cohesion Policy effectiveness by promoting the exchange of experience, and identification and dissemination of good practices.

In addition to the ETC Objective Programmes, there are external cross-border cooperation programmes, i.e. cross-border and sea basin programmes defined under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) under Regulation (EU) No. 232/2014 and cross-border programmes defined under the pre-accession instrument IPA II under Regulation (EU) No. 231/2014.

The total ERDF resources allocated to ETC objective programmes at EU level for 2014-2020 amount to 8.9 billion euros, representing 2.75% of the total resources allocated to Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. In addition, ERDF resources were allocated to support CBC programmes under the IPA II instrument, amounting to 242 million euros, and the ENI instrument, amounting to 634 million euros.

For the 2014-2020 programming period, Italy participates in 19 ETC programmes, ENI and IPA II, ten of which are managed by an Italian Managing Authority.

Along with the Cohesion Policy Department (DPCoe) at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Territorial Cohesion Agency (ACT) is the reference national authority for the EC and other Member States in relation to the 19 ETC Programmes with Italian participation.

In accordance with the State-Regions Agreement dated 14 April 2016 on the document concerning the national governance of the implementation and management of the ETC Programmes 2014-2020, the ACT also:

  • Cochairs, with DPCoe, the ETC Strategic Coordination Group for 2014-2020;
  • Cochairs ETC programmes’ national committees, whereby established, and participates in the programmes’ monitoring committees;
  • Coordinates the Joint State-Regions and Autonomous Provinces Commission for coordination and general functioning of the 2014-2020 ETC national monitoring system;
  • Is the Management Unit of the CAP-ETC complementary Programme to finance ETC national governance.
Mappa delle aree dei programmi transfrontalieri cofinanziati dal FESR

Map of the areas involved in cross-border programmes co-financed by the ERDF (Source: DG Regio)

Mappa dei programmi di cooperazione transnazionale 2014-2020 cofinanziati dal FESR

Map of transnational cooperation programmes 2014-2020 co-financed by the ERDF (Source: DG Regio)



Projects and Instruments Area, Office 6 “Co-financed Territorial Cooperation Operational Programmes, International affairs, bilateral cooperation”

Director: Paolo Galletta


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