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The Spanish Presidency of the EU and interregional cooperation

By Joint secretariat

On 1 July 2023, Spain took over the EU Presidency from Sweden for the upcoming six months. The priorities of the Spanish Presidency 2023 are:

  • Reindustrialise the EU and ensure its open strategic autonomy
  • Advance in the green transition and the environmental adaptation
  • Promote greater social and economic justice
  • Strengthen European unity

We asked our Spanish representation to share some thoughts about their Presidency and interregional cooperation. You can read the Spanish Presidency's message below:

"Cohesion Policy has been perhaps the most emblematic policy of the European Union and the one that citizens have been able to perceive with greater proximity, fundamentally in those less developed regions, where its impact has been decisive in all areas of public intervention. Cohesion Policy funds have literally placed the flag of our Union in schools, auditoriums, research centers, ports or national parks.

In recent years we have witnessed how, despite its long history, the instruments of Cohesion Policy have been able to adapt to unforeseen situations and very serious crises with great flexibility and efficiency. With Cohesion Policy funds, we have been able to deal with emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic or geopolitical threats such as the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Spain is firmly committed to Cohesion Policy, convinced that it is one of the Union's undisputed successes. A cohesion policy that is flexible and adaptable to the new challenges facing Europe and its regions. Indeed, it is not unreasonable that we may be faced with other problems as serious as those we have recently experienced, even suddenly. These will undoubtedly be new levers of inequality that we must anticipate by fulfilling the vocation of Cohesion Policy. Cohesion Policy must also continue to serve as a fundamental pillar of the convergence of the European Union. And all this without losing the essence of this policy: the importance of the regional approach, as the main way to achieve greater convergence between regions.

The European Union's Cohesion Policy has changed the economy, society and the perception of Europe, even the landscape of our regions. Through Cohesion Policy, the European Union, and the Spanish Presidency of the Council, reaffirms its commitment to solidarity, recognizes Europe's regional diversity and enables greater resilience by creating opportunities for prosperity in all territories.

Within this framework, Interreg Europe provides a platform for cooperation and continuous learning. Interreg Europe contributes directly to the European Cohesion Policy by supporting the exchange of policy experience and good practices between EU regions.

Interreg Europe helps public authorities from 29 countries (the EU27, plus Norway and Switzerland) inspire each other and improve their regional developing policies in all EU priorities, either within interregional cooperation projects or via the Policy Learning Platform. The Policy Learning Platform is the second action of the Interreg Europe programme. The Platform experts provide on-demand services such as the region-to-region peer reviews and matchmaking sessions and propose to public authorities and policymakers  tailored advice on their regional development policy challenges.

Overall the participation of Spanish partners is very active in all European Territorial Cooperation programmes and, in particular, in Interreg Europe. Only in the 2014-2020 programming period, 248 Spanish partners participated in 187 projects of all the themes supported by the programme. These partners represent all the regions of our country. Fortunately, the same trend seems to be confirmed so far in the new period 2021-2027.

We are very proud that Spanish partners are actively cooperating with partners from other regions of Europe and we encourage them to do so. Thanks to the interregional cooperation projects and policy learning services, the regions are improving their regional development policies.

Interreg Europe programme is ready to expand to seven additional countries Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine and we are looking forward to having beneficiaries from these countries joining our cooperation projects and benefiting from our Policy Learning Platform services. Mutual sharing of ideas and finding solutions to common challenges is the cornerstone and richness of Interreg Europe. Let´s cooperate and help create opportunities for prosperity in all territories."

Discover more about Spanish participation in Interreg Europe