Check if your project idea is relevant for Interreg Europe

Answer the series of questions below to check if your project idea is relevant for Interreg Europe.

Before going forward with your application or seeking assistance from us, make sure to check the relevance of your project! If you can answer ‘yes’ to all the questions, you're on the right track.

The self-assessment is for information purposes only.

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You need to improve your project idea in order to make it relevant to Interreg Europe. The programme manual is the ultimate reference book for this!

For additional guidance, click on 'more'.

Congratulations! Your project idea seems to be relevant to Interreg Europe. By joining our online community, you can seek further assistance from us in order to improve your application before submitting it.

1. Is the issue addressed clearly defined and does it fit in one of the specific objectives of the programme?

The programme covers the following six specific objectives: 

  1. research and innovation infrastructure and capacities
  2. delivery of innovation by actors in regional innovation chains in areas of “smart specialisation” and innovation opportunity
  3. supporting SMEs in all stages of their life cycle to develop, achieve growth and engage in innovation
  4. addressing the transition to a low-carbon economy
  5. protection and development of natural and cultural heritage.
  6. increasing resource-efficiency, green growth and eco-innovation and environmental performance management

(see section 2.5 of the programme manual)


The issue addressed by the project needs to be clearly defined, well focused, and correspond to a shared need of all project partners. If this is not the case, please review the selection of partners and/or policy instruments. In case your project does not clearly address one out of these six specific objectives, the project is not relevant to the programme.

2. Are the policy instruments that you and your partners want to improve clearly identified?

A policy instrument is 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.

(see sections 4.1. and 4.3.1 of the programme manual)


The identification of the policy instruments to be improved is the starting point to ensure that the project contributes to the programme’s objective of “improving policies”. In case you did not identify them yet, please get back to your potential partners to elaborate on common needs and to identify, for each partner region, the most appropriate policy instrument that partners will address within the project.

3. Are at least half of the policy instruments you want to address Structural Funds operational programmes?

Structural Funds programmes are programmes of the EU cohesion policy that are financed by the ERDF and ESF Funds and include both the Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes and the European Territorial Cooperation programmes. Interreg Europe aims at improving “the implementation of policies and programmes for regional development, principally of programmes under the Investment for Growth and Jobs goal and, where relevant, of programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation goal”. Based on this objective, a threshold was introduced, namely at least half of the policy instruments addressed by EU regions in a project need to be Structural Funds programmes.

(see sections 4.1. and 4.3.1 of the programme manual)


In case you do not meet the threshold (at least half of the policy instruments addressed by EU regions in a project need to be Structural Funds programmes), you should revise the policy instruments or involve additional partner regions to address more Structural Funds programmes.

4. Are the bodies in charge of the respective policy instruments involved in the project?

Ideally, the body in charge of a policy instrument should be a project partner. If this is not possible, the organisation responsible for the policy instrument addressed by the partner can be part of the stakeholder group related to the policy instrument. In this case, the partner has to provide a letter of support from this organisation. In case of Structural Funds programmes, please check the responsible organisations on the programme website under ‘In my country’ section.

(see section 4.4.1 of the programme manual)


The involvement of the policy responsible organisations is a pre requisite in Interreg Europe.

5. Does the partnership significantly go beyond cross-border and transnational cooperation areas?

Interreg Europe is the only Interreg programme that covers the whole European Union, Norway and Switzerland. It is therefore highly recommended that partnerships go beyond the cross-border and transnational cooperation areas, as this configuration allows partners to broaden their experience and to confront their practices with very different cultures and contexts.

(see section 4.4.1 of the programme manual)


If the partnership is exclusively or mainly composed of regions coming from an existing cooperation area, the added-value of the partnership will be questionable in the context of Interreg Europe.

Search for profiles interested in joining a partnership to find partners from different parts of Europe. 

6. Is interregional exchange of experience at the heart of the project?

Interreg Europe is a capacity building programme. It primarily supports activities related to exchange of experience among policymakers.

(see sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the programme manual)


If your project includes investments, research or implementation-related activities, these will not be relevant to Interreg Europe. Please check other EU programmes that may be more appropriate to finance these kinds of activities.

7. Are the expected results of clear innovative character?

Projects financed under Interreg Europe need to explain the innovative character of their expected results. Even if this notion is relative, it should always be justified: what is common practice for certain European regions may be very innovative for others (see section 4.3.3 of the programme manual).


Additional efforts should be made when a project idea focuses on an issue that was already tackled within an INTERREG IVC project. We recommend to thoroughly check the results of INTERREG IVC, for instance the project database and the capitalisation exercise and to build on the achieved results.

8. Are all partners either public bodies, bodies governed by public law or private non-profit bodies?

Only public bodies, bodies governed by public law or private non-profit bodies are eligible to receive ERDF within Interreg Europe. Private for-profit partners are not eligible. Please note that private non-profit bodies cannot take on the role of a lead partner.

(see section 4.4.2 of the programme manual)


In case you have doubts on the legal status of a partner, please get in touch with the point of contact of the respective partner state via the programme website.