The European Territorial Cooperation is one objective of the Cohesion policy that provides a framework for implementing joint actions and for exchanging experience among different national, regional and local actors. Within this objective three programme types have been differentiated: cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation through which the EU’s territorial integration and cohesion are to be advanced. Within this frame in the period 2014-2020, seven cross-border, two transnational and one interregional programme will be prepared and implemented with the participation of Hungary.

European Territorial Cooperation 2014-2020

The draft regulation package on the future of cohesion policy was announced by the European Commission in October 2011. Related negotiations went according to the phase and schedule agreed by the Polish-Danish-Cypriot Presidency. The drafts are being parallelly negotiated by the Council and the European Parliament. The goal of the Irish Presidency (due from 2013 January) is to close the whole negotiation process and to accept the regulations during summer. That is even more important since the operative programmes and national rules will be prepared along the regulations.

The European Territorial Cooperation financed by the European Regional Development Fund remains a separate objective of cohesion policy after 2013, as well. However, it is regulated by a separate act due to specialities of programmes. European Territorial Cooperation Programmes can be divided into three categories:

·         cross-border cooperation- funding for projects involving regions and local authorities on either side of a common border, such as projects that aim to develop the cross-border use of infrastructure;

·         transnational cooperation- funding for projects between national, regional and local entities in larger geographical areas;

·          interregional cooperation- to foster sharing of good practice on innovation, energy efficiency, urban development and other themes;

New elements of the regulation are the thematic concentration, close relation with EU2020 Strategy, increased result-orientation of investments and the territorial approach. Provisions on thematic concentration and investment priorities improve the strategic focus of programmes. According to the proposed regulation, in case of the cross-border and transnational cooperations minimum 80% of EU funds have to be spent on 4 thematic objectives.

According to the current state of ongoing negotiations on 2014-2020 budget, resources for the ETC goal shall amount to 2.75 % of the global resources available from the cohesion Funds, which means 8.9 billion euros. It shall be allocated as follows: 74,06% for CBC programmes, 20,36% for transnational and 5,58% for interregional cooperation.

This includes the continuation of the mechanism for the transfer of resources for cooperation activities at the external borders of the Union, to be supported under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). Collaborations on programmes under the ETC goal and programmes financed under external instruments shall be promoted. In order to use cohesion funds more efficiently the European Commission proposes two new tools:

-          Community-led local development (CLLD) - a specific tool for use at sub-regional level, which is complementary to other development support at local level. CLLDs may be implemented in cross-border cooperation programmes, the new provisions are based on LEADER approach.

-           Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) - is possible if it makes part of the cooperation programme. It means a special implementation method of integrated developments. ITI will allow EU Member States to bundle funding from several priority axes of one or more Operational Programmes for the purposes of multi-dimensional and cross-sectoral intervention. For the management and implementation an EGTC or other legal entity can be appointed that has been set up under the national law of the participating country.

From 2014 onwards EGTCs will play more important role in territorial, especially in cross-border cooperation. The EGTC tool is aimed to strengthen the Union’s cohesion by supporting territorial cooperation and decreasing practical difficulties through a legal entity that can increase law security and stability. The revision of the EGTC Act is proceeding in terms of this.

EGTCs are notably suitable for implementing cross-border cooperation programmes since they meet the requirements of joint planning, joint implementation and cross-border effect set towards ETC projects and they can have a role in providing cross-border public services. More information on EGTCs, their establishment and number in Hungary, visit the following link.

In Hungary the preparation of the 2014-2020 period, the strategic planning of ETC/IPA/ENI programmes is currently in process. Regarding cross-border programmes, international planning working groups have been established. The counties of the programme area, representatives of the Ministry of National Development, the Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice participate in the work of these planning groups. The institutional structure of the future programme period is being prepared now. According to the Government Act 1449/2012 (16th October), the Széchenyi Programme Offices receive a role in managing cross-border developments, as well, therefore, their representatives have also been included in the work of the planning working groups.

The expert work of strategic planning has already started in almost every CBC programmes; the planning working group supported by external experts is responsible for preparing the operative programmes. During the planning process the regional and local stakeholders are also involved through thematic workshops where they can discuss the development needs and current programme experiences of the border region. Further information about the venue and date of these workshops can be found at the ‘events‘.

The planning of the following 2014-2020 programmes has been started with the participation of Hungary:


Cross-border cooperation:

· Hungary-Slovakia Cross-border cooperation

· Hungary-Romania Cross-border cooperation

· Hungary-Croatia Cross-border cooperation

· Hungary-Serbia Cross-border cooperation

· Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine ENI cooperation

· Austria-Hungary Cross-border cooperation

· Slovenia-Hungary Cross-border cooperation

Transnational programmes:

· Danube transnational programme

· Central Europe transnational programme

Interregional cooperation:

· INTERREG VC interregional programme

· ESPON programme

· URBACT programme