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Glossary terms



An abbreviation of the project title.

Action plan

Document specifying how the lessons learnt from the cooperation will be implemented in a region to improve the policy instrument addressed by this region. It provides information on the nature and timeframe of the action(s) to be implemented, the stakeholders involved as well as on the way the action(s) derives from the project. Only the regions that do not achieve any policy change by the end of the core phase have to produce an action plan.


Ageneral principle of the Cohesion Policy related to the fact that EU funding should not replace national funding. For Interreg Europe project partners, it means that only activities that are different from their normal and regular tasks are eligible for funding. In particular, pilot actions must represent additional activities that would not be carried out without the support of the Interreg Europe programme.

Advisory partners

A specific type of partner in Interreg Europe projects. They participate in the project because of the specific competence they bring to the cooperation. This may be the case of an academic institution specialised in the issue addressed by the project or in the exchange of experience process. Although they do not address any policy instrument, they can receive funding from Interreg Europe like any other ‘normal’ partner.

Application form

Online form providing all the main features of the project and in particular the composition of the partnership, the activities to be carried out, the policy instruments addressed and the project’s budget.

Associated policy authority

Associated policy authority is a policy responsible authority unable to participate in a project as a partner, yet committed to the project and included in the partnership section of the project application form.

Audit authority

The body responsible for making sure that audits are carried out on the proper functioning of the management and control system of the operational programme and on an appropriate sample of operations based on the declared expenditure.


Body governed by public law

According to Article 2 (1) of Directive 2014/24/EU, it means all bodies (a) established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character; (b) they have legal personality; (c) financed, for the most part, by the state, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law; or are subject to management supervision by those authorities or bodies; or have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the state, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law.


Call for proposals

Period in which applications can be submitted to the Joint Secretariat.


A process of collecting, analysing, exchanging, and transferring / adapting good practices and experiences gained in a specific field of regional development policy. The process contributes to increasing the professional capacity of people and organisations involved and to improving the regional development policies (including the Investment for Jobs and Growth programmes) of the participating regions.

Certifying authority

The Certifying Authority is responsible for drawing up and submitting certified statement of expenditure and application for ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) payment to the European Commission. Moreover, it is responsible for making the ERDF payments to the lead partner of approved projects.



Declaration of commitment by the partners required by the programme. The declaration is obligatory for all partners listed in the application form.

Decommitment rule

At the beginning of every year, the Commission allocates a certain amount of ERDF to the Interreg Europe programme. The annual allocation must be spent within 3 years following the year of commitment. If, at the end of 3 years, the annual allocation is not spent, the corresponding ERDF budget will be lost (= decommitted).

Durability of the project’s results

In Interreg Europe, the durability of the project’s results derives from the integration of the lessons learnt from the cooperation into the policy instruments of the participating regions.


Eligibility assessment

The first step of the selection procedure: assessing whether the application complies with formal requirements.

Eligible costs

Costs that are in line with the programme requirements and can be approved for co-financing from the ERDF.

ERDF co-financing rate

The ERDF co-financing rate for Interreg Europe projects depends on the legal status of the project partner and amounts to 80% for public bodies and bodies governed by public law and to 70% for private non-profit bodies.

European Territorial Cooperation

The second pillar of the Cohesion Policy. It refers to all Interreg programmes (cross-border, transnational, and interregional cooperation) as well as INTERACT, ESPON and URBACT.

External expertise and services

Costs paid based on contracts and against invoices to external service providers who are subcontracted to carry out certain tasks of the project that are eligible. Public procurement rules must be observed in selecting a company or individual to provide external expertise. It is recommended to provide maximum rates for certain services (e.g., fees for speakers/ moderators).


First level control

Before submission to the joint secretariat, each progress report must be verified and confirmed by an independent controller compliant with the first level control system set up by each Member State and Norway in accordance with Article 125 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 and Article 23 of Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013. This verification is carried out by a first level controller who must verify that the expenditure connected to the project implementation was spent in compliance with the relevant EU, national, regional, institutional and programme rules. The main aim of the controls is to provide a guarantee for the managing authority, the certifying authority and, most importantly, to the project itself that costs co-financed under the Interreg Europe programme are accounted for and claimed in accordance with the legal and financial provisions of the subsidy contract, the approved application form, the Interreg Europe programme rules, national rules, and EU regulations.

First level controller

An institution/ individual responsible for the verification of financial documentation of beneficiaries in a given country.


Good practice database

An online repository of successful good practices/policy initiatives ready to be transferred to a different region.

Good practices

An initiative related to regional development policy which has proved to be successful. Proved successful is where the good practice has already provided tangible and measurable results in achieving a specific objective.


In-kind contribution

Provision of works, goods, services, land, or real estate for which no cash payment has been made (e.g., unpaid voluntary work). In-kind contributions are not eligible in the Interreg Europe programme.

Innovative character

Added value of a project (and its expected results) compared to other initiatives already or currently supported through interregional cooperation in the same domain. Applicants should make sure that their proposal and its expected achievements will be of added value compared to past or existing initiatives.

Intermediate body of operational programme

Anybody who acts under the responsibility of a managing authority, and who carries out, on their behalf, duties related to the management of the operational programme.

Interregional cooperation

Part of the C strand of the ETC. Aiming at reinforcing the effectiveness of cohesion policy. It consists of 4 programmes: Interreg Europe, Urbact, Interact and ESPON.

Interregional learning process

Exchange of experience among project partners primarily carried out during the core phase of projects.


An action where more than one region is involved. The interregional character of the activities is an important criterion in Interreg Europe where all activities (including pilot actions or activities of the regional stakeholders' groups) must contribute to the interregional learning process.

Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes

Operational programmes managed at national or regional level that translate the first goal of the EU Cohesion policy (Investment for Jobs and Growth) into concrete actions in the Member States.


Joint secretariat

The joint secretariat (JS) is responsible for the day-to-day management of the programme. The team is based in Lille, France.


Lead applicant workshop

Event organised for lead applicants to provide detailed information on how to apply to a call for proposals.

Lead partner

Partner responsible for the proper implementation and reporting of the project in compliance with the plans described in the application form. Responsibilities of the lead partner are detailed in the subsidy contract.


Managing authority

Authorities responsible for managing and implementing the operational programme; it acts as interface between the European Commission and the participating states and regions and ensures compliance of the programme with Community regulations and policies.

Monitoring committee

The monitoring committee supervises the overall implementation of the programme. Only the monitoring committee is entitled to make decisions on the programme.


National information day

Event organised by a country's national point of contact to provide information on the programme for potential applicants in a given country.

National point of contact

Institution designated by each Partner State to promote the programme among potential project applicants in their country and support them in generating projects.


The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) was created by the European Office for Statistics (Eurostat) to create a single and coherent structure of territorial distribution. It has been used in the Community legislation pertaining to the Structural Funds since 1988.


Operational programme

A document developed within the Member States and approved by the Commission. It defines the priorities and measures selected in each Member State to implement the Cohesion policy.


Tangible deliverables which contribute to achieving the project’s objectives. They are related to the activities carried out in the project. They do not lead to a qualitative judgement on the project’s results. This means for instance that it is not because the project organises a high number of interregional events (output) that it will necessarily be successful. Outputs are measured in physical units, such as the number of interregional events, good practices identified, or policies addressed.


Partner contribution

Amount of co-financing not covered by ERDF. The partner contribution may come from the partners’ own budget or from other sources. Each partner must commit to providing its own contribution through a project partner declaration.

Partner search forum

An annual event organised for applicants by the Interreg Europe programme to identify partners for their project and to obtain information on calls for proposals.

Partnership agreement

To secure the quality of the implementation of the project, as well as the satisfactory achievement of its goals, the lead partner and the partners must conclude a partnership agreement. The partnership agreement is an internal document that allows the lead partner to extend the arrangements of the subsidy contract to the level of each partner.

Pilot action

Implementation-related activity dedicated to testing a new public intervention approach. This usually refers to the transfer of a successful practice from one region to another one, but it can also relate to a new initiative jointly designed by the project. The ultimate objective of a pilot action is that, in case of success, it is finally integrated into the policy instrument addressed and therefore contributes to the long-term improvement of this public intervention.

Policy instrument

A means for public intervention. It refers to any policy, strategy, or law developed by public authorities and applied on the ground to improve a specific territorial situation. In most cases, financial resources are associated with a policy instrument. However, an instrument can also sometimes refer to a legislative framework with no specific funding. In the context of Interreg Europe, operational programmes for Investment for Growth and Jobs as well as Cooperation Programmes from European Territorial Cooperation are policy instruments. Beyond EU cohesion policy, local, regional, or national public authorities also develop their own policy instruments.

Policy responsible authority

Policy responsible authority is the organisation in charge of developing and/ or delivering a specific policy instrument.

Preparation costs

Costs incurred for the development of the project. Preparation costs are fixed in the form of a lump sum of EUR 15,000 (or in ERDF /Norwegian funding: EUR 12,750 (85%) and EUR 7,500 (50%)) for approved projects. This amount will be automatically included in the lead partner’s budget at the application stage. With the first progress report, the EUR 15,000 lump sum for preparation costs will be added to the reported lead partner’s expenditure, and the corresponding ERDF / Norwegian funding will be paid by the programme after approval of the progress report.

Private non-profit body

An organisation (a) not having an industrial or commercial character; (b) having a legal personality; (c) not being financed, for the most part, by the state, regional or local authorities, or other bodies governed by public law; or not subject to management supervision by those bodies; or not having an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the state, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law. In Interreg Europe projects private non-profit bodies can be project partners but they cannot take on the role of a lead partner.

Programme area

Made up of 36 countries: the 27 EU Member States, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Programme manual

Reference document for anyone interested in the Interreg Europe programme.. It is part of the application pack when a call for proposals is open. It provides all necessary information for project development and implementation.

Progress report

Comprised of both a report on the activity/result report and on the finances. It reflects the progress of the project and serves as a payment request. Lead partners of projects must submit a progress report at the end of each reporting period to the joint secretariat.

Project idea feedback

Aform filled in by a lead applicant to receive feedback from the joint secretariat on their project idea.

Public authorities

The national, regional, or local authorities.

Public law body

According to Article 2 (1) of Directive 2014/24/EU, it means all bodies (a) established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character; (b) they have legal personality; (c) financed, for the most part, by the state, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law; or are subject to management supervision by those authorities or bodies; or have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the state, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law.

Public procurement

Whenever purchases are made and contracts are awarded to external suppliers, project partners must be able to demonstrate the compliance with the public procurement rules defining the tendering, publicity, and contracting procedures applicable to different threshold values. The principles of transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment must be respected, and conditions of effective competition must be ensured in compliance with the EU public procurement directives, national rules, and internal rules of the partner organisation.


Quality assessment

The second step of the selection procedure: evaluating the content of the applications submitted to the programme.


Reporting period

Period of activity covered by a report. Progress reports need to be submitted to the programme every six months.


Second level audit

Sample checks on projects carried out to verify that projects have correctly declared expenditure in the progress reports. The declared expenditure shall be audited based on a representative sample and, generally, on statistical sampling methods. These checks are done under the responsibility of the audit authority assisted by a group of auditors with at least one representative from each participating country. In the context of Interreg Europe, they will be carried out every year between 2017 and 2023.

Spending plan

At the application stage, each project needs to foresee a spending plan for each of the six-monthly reporting periods. The project’s spending plan should be an estimation of the actual payments to be made in each of the six-monthly periods. The programme’s spending plan is based on ERDF allocations by the Commission. Thus, if the projects do not meet their spending plan, the programme may also not meet its own. In the event of the programme not meeting its spending target, it will be subject to decommitment. If this loss results from certain projects lagging behind their spending targets, the programme will be obliged to reduce the budget of these projects. Therefore, the spending plan is part of the subsidy contract, which also includes provision that any amounts which are not reported in time and in full may be lost.

State aid

Aid which is granted selectively by Member States or through state resources and which may affect trade between Member States or distort competition (Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - TFEU). State aid is prohibited. However, it may be permitted if justified by objectives of general economic interest, if it falls within the General Block Exemption, if it falls within de minims or if it has been notified to and approved by DG Competition.

Subsidy contract

Contract between the managing authority and the lead partner. It determines the rights and responsibilities of both parties, the scope of activities to be carried out, terms of funding, requirements for reporting and financial controls, etc.


Terms of reference

A document providing the core features of a specific call for proposals.


Work plan

A plan of activities to be conducted within the lifetime of the project.