Check the specific meaning of words or terms in our glossary. As you navigate throughout the site, glossary terms appear with a dotted underline. Hovering over this with your mouse will reveal the definition. If you are unsure of the meaning of a term, and it's not in our glossary, then drop us a line!

  • A

    an abbreviation of the project title
    Action plan
    An action plan is a document providing details on how the lessons learnt from the cooperation will be implemented in order to improve the policy instrument tackled within a given region. The document specifies the nature of the actions to be implemented, their time frame, the players involved, the costs (if any) and funding sources (if any).
    one of the three main programme criteria, to be respected by all proposed project activities; it means that the activities proposed to the Interreg Europe programme have to be different from the normal and regular tasks of the partners involved in the project. In particular, the pilot actions have to represent additional activities that would not be carried out without the support of the Interreg Europe programme
    Advisory partners
    a specific type of partners in Interreg Europe projects. They participate in the project as they offer a particular competence that can facilitate the project’s implementation. This may be the case of an academic institution that is specialised in the topic tackled by the project or in the exchange of experience process. Like any other ‘normal’ partner, they can receive financing from Interreg Europe. But they do not address a policy instrument and therefore do not need to develop an action plan.
    Audit authority
    the body responsible for ensuring 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 on the basis of the declared expenditure.
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  • C

    Call for proposals
    period of time in which applications can be submitted to the Joint Secretariat
    Certifying authority
    the CA is mainly responsible for drawing-up and submitting certified statement of expenditure and application for ERDF payment to the European Commission. Moreover, it is responsible for making the ERDF payments to the lead partner of approved projects.
    Cohesion Policy
    Cohesion policy was enshrined in the Treaties with the adoption of the Single European Act (1986). It is built on the assumption that redistribution between richer and poorer regions in Europe is needed in order to balance out the effects of further economic integration. In the 2007-2013 financial perspectives, cohesion policy amounts to 35.7% of the total EU budget (€308 billion), 62% of which should finance projects linked to the Lisbon agenda for growth and employment.
    Cross border cooperation
    EU regional policy programme which promotes projects whose partnership is constituted by partners coming from two or more states and who are located in the border area
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  • D

    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). The first year of potential decommitment for the Interreg Europe programme is 2018.
    Deep delegation
    refers to the wider stakeholders that each partner needs to have on board to ensure successful implementation of the good practice(s) transferred e.g. regional development agencies, monitoring committee of operational programme. Only costs of partners listed in the application form can be reimbursed
    Durability of the project’s results
    one of the basic requirements of any public funded project is to demonstrate at the application stage that the planned results to be achieved within the project will not be lost at the end of the funding period.
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  • E

    Eligibility check
    the first step of a two-step evaluation procedure. Project proposals applying for ERDF funds have to pass the eligibility check successfully in order to be considered for funding.
    Eligibility criteria
    mainly technical requirements operations applying for ERDF funds have to fulfill in order to pass the eligibility check
    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 85% for public bodies and bodies governed by public law and to 75% for private non-profit bodies.
    Europe 2020 Strategy
    Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year jobs and growth strategy. Launched by the European Commission in 2010, it aims at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. As part of the EU cohesion policy, the Interreg Europe programme supports the Europe 2020 Strategy. The programme mainly supports the smart and sustainable pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy. Inclusive growth also has a place but it is tackled indirectly through the other investment priorities (for example social innovation, support to entrepreneurship, etc.).
    European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
    The ERDF is intended to help reduce imbalances between regions of the Community. The Fund was set up in 1975 and grants financial assistance for development projects in the poorer regions. In terms of financial resources, the ERDF is by far the largest of the EU's Structural Funds
    European Territorial Cooperation
    this is the EU Regional policy’s second goal of the programming period 2014-2020. It refers to all Interreg programmes (cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation) as well as INTERACT III, ESPON and URBACT III. With the present programming period, a specific regulation has been put in place for this Goal (Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council). This is the first time it happens. This change means higher political priority as well as higher visibility and expectations from this goal compared to the past.
    External expertise and services
    Costs paid on the basis of contracts and against invoices to external service providers who are sub-contracted to carry out certain tasks of the project 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 of speakers/ moderators).
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  • F

    First level control (centralised/ decentralised)
    before submission to the joint secretariat, each progress report has to 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 verification of financial documentation of beneficiaries in a given country
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  • G

    Good practice
    in the context of the Interreg Europe programme, a good practice is defined as an initiative (e.g. methodologies, projects, processes, techniques) undertaken in one of the programme’s thematic priorities which has already proved successful and which has the potential to be transferred to a different geographic area. Proved successful is where the good practice has already provided tangible and measurable results in achieving a specific objective.
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  • I

    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 of results (also see Added value)
    Projects financed under the programme have to explain the innovative character of their expected results. Applicants should make sure that their own project and its expected achievements will be of added-value compared to these past or existing initiatives
    Integrated approach
    cross-sectoral approach, in which projects are linked to different programme subthemes, even though they have to clearly focus only on one
    Intermediate body of operational programme
    is any body which acts under the responsibility of a managing authority and which carries out, on their behalf, duties related to the management of the operational programme
    Interregional cooperation
    Part of the C strand of the ETC (as well as of the former Interreg III Community Initiative), its aim is to promote exchange and transfer of knowledge and best practices among the European regions.
    interregional character of the activities has always to be demonstrated in the application form. Activities of ‘purely’ local character cannot be supported under Interreg Europe.
    Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes
    these are the operational programmes that translate the first goal of the EU Cohesion policy (Investment for Growth and Jobs) into concrete actions at national and regional level. These programmes are drafted by Member States and regional administrations, with the objective to plan a seven-year framework for policy delivery. They are funded through the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)
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  • J

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

    Lead applicant workshop
    is a conference organised for lead applicants to provide information on project development and how to complete the application form
    Lead partner
    The lead partner has full financial responsibility for the entire operation including all partners and is responsible for the proper reporting of progress to the respective joint secretariat as also stipulated in the subsidy contract
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  • M

    Managing authority (MA)
    The MA bears the responsibility 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 (MC)
    The monitoring committee is supervising the implementation of the programme
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  • N

    National information day
    event organised by a country's point of contact in order to provide information on the programme for the potential applicants in a given country
    The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) was created by the European Office for Statistics (Eurostat) in order 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
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  • O

    On-the-spot check
    is a check carried out by the first level controller on partners’ premises (whereas desk checks are carried out on the first level controller’s premises). In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 Article 125 (5), at least once during the project’s lifetime, the first level controller has to go on-the-spot in order to verify that the reported activities have taken place, the delivery of sub-contracted supplies, work and goods is in progress or has been completed. At the same time, the means invested in going on- the- spot should remain proportional to the costs to be verified. Consequently, it may be legitimate to use sampling unless Partner State rules indicate differently for their first level control system.
    Operational programme
    a document developed by EU countries and/or regions and approved by the Commission, which defines their priorities as well as the programming required to achieve these priorities.
    Outputs directly result from activities of the operation. They are typically measured in physical or monetary units such as: number of meetings/seminars/training sessions, number of collaborative projects, number and type of reports/policy tools/written concepts, and many others
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  • P

    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 the programme
    Partnership agreement
    In order 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 have to conclude a partnership agreement. The partnership agreement allows the lead partner to extend the arrangements of the subsidy contract to the level of each partner.
    Paying authority (PA)
    Authority designated by the Member State for the purposes of drawing up and submitting payments applications and receiving payments from the Commission.
    Pilot action
    it means an implementation carried out by one of the partners in order to test a new approach on its territory. It can be related to a completely new experimentation for the concerned partnership. A pilot action can also be related to a transfer of practice from one authority to another authority.
    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
    Policy instrument
    a means for public intervention. It refers to any policy, strategy, or law developed by public authorities and applied on the ground in order 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 considered to be policy instruments. Beyond EU cohesion policy, local, regional or national public authorities also develop their own policy instruments.
    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
    in the context of the Interreg Europe programme a private non-profit body is 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 30 countries: the 27 EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
    Programme manual
    Part of the application pack. Intended to assist applicants in drafting applications, as well as in implementing and finalising the approved operations.
    Programme priorities
    thematic areas around which programme is structured
    Progress report
    Comprised of the activity report and the financial report. It documents the progress of the project and serves as payment request. Lead partners of projects have to submit a progress report at the end of each reporting period to the joint secretariat.
    Project idea feedback
    a form filled in by a lead applicant of a project in order to receive feedback from the joint secretariat on their project idea
    Project partner
    All project partners other than the lead partner
    Public authorities
    they are generally understood as the national, regional, or local authorities.
    Public law body/ 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.
    Public procurement
    whenever purchases are made and contracts are awarded to external suppliers, project partners have to be in a position 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 have to 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.
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  • Q

    Quality assessment
    second step of a two-step evaluation procedure that project proposals applying for ERDF funds have to pass successfully in order to be considered for ERDF funding.
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  • R

    RegioStars Awards
    The objective of the RegioStars Awards is to identify good practices in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions.
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  • S

    Second level audit
    sample checks on projects carried out in order to verify that projects have correctly declared expenditure in the progress reports. The declared expenditure shall be audited based on a representative sample and, as a general rule, 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.
    Steering group
    a body consisting of representatives of all project partners, which is responsible for joint project management and decision-making on strategic level
    Structural Funds
    Financial tools set up to implement the regional policy of the European Union. They aim to reduce regional disparities in terms of income, wealth and opportunities. There are two Structural Funds: the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. It promotes among other innovation and research; energy efficiency in small- and medium-sized enterprises, housing and public buildings; production and distribution of renewable energy; low-carbon strategies for urban areas. European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is also supported by ERDF. The ESF focuses on improving employment and education opportunities across the European Union. It also aims to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people at risk of poverty. It supports among other the reform of education and training systems, adaptation of skills and qualifications, up-skilling of the labour force, and the creation of new jobs. Structural Funds are governed by a single set of rules covering all 5 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF): • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) • European Social Fund (ESF) • Cohesion Fund (CF) • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) • European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
    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
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  • T

    Terms of reference
    a document providing main guidelines related to a specific call for proposals
    Transnational cooperation
    Part of the former B strand of the ETC (as well as of the Interreg III during the 2000-2006 programming period); its main aim is to promote the cooperation and a better integration among large groups of European regions which have similar characteristics
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  • W

    Work plan
    a plan of activities to be conducted within the lifetime of the project
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