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Call: Interreg Central Europe - First Call for Proposals

Programme
Acronym Interreg CE
Type of Fund Indirect Management
Description of programme
"Interreg Central Europe Programme 2021-27"

Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE envisions a united central Europe that cooperates - to become smarter, greener and better connected together. Based on shared needs and a common identity in an area long divided by the ‘Iron Curtain’, the programme aims for a trustful culture of cooperation beyond administrative borders.

The programme mission is to bring regions and cities together beyond borders to find fitting solutions for their citizens – in a fair and equal way everywhere. It encourages and supports transnational cooperation to make regions more resilient to common challenges that know no borders and which cannot be solved alone. These challenges include among others economic transition processes, climate change, and the long-term socioeconomic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme priorities and specific objectives form the backbone of the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE funding strategy in 2021-27. In line with the thematic fields, transnational cooperation actions are expected to address the development and implementation of strategies, action plans, tools, training, pilot actions and related solutions. All actions will have to respect the horizontal principles of sustainable development including environmental protection as well as equal opportunities, non-discrimination and gender equality.

Priority 1:  Cooperating for a smarter central Europe

SO 1.1 Strengthening innovation capacities in central Europe
Strong innovation capacities bear enormous relevance for central Europe considering its strong industrial base and the importance of sectors such as agriculture and food, or tourism. Innovation is also central for strengthening central Europe’s economic resilience. Capacities for innovation need to be fostered especially in regions that are struggling with the transition to a more globalised, digitalised and green economy. Knowledge and technology transfer, especially for SMEs, is a critical need.

SO 1.2  Strenghtening skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship in central Europe
The strong industrial base of central Europe and its dependence on adequate skills underlines the strategic relevance of this specific objective. SMEs have been identified as the main providers of employment in central Europe and it is important to foster locally available human skills, especially for the transition to Industry 4.0, digitalisation and a green economy. Capacities for an efficient entrepreneurial discovery process need to be improved as well as for the preparation or updating of smart specialisation strategies. Place-based development of skills is also crucial for reducing urban-rural disparities. Overall, there is the need for a just transition process that is socially responsible.

Priority 2:  Cooperating for a greener central Europe

SO 2.1  Supporting the energy transition to a climate-neutral central Europe
Central Europe needs to speed up its performance related both to energy efficiency as well as the production and use of renewable energy to meet EU targets and climate objectives of the European Green Deal. Significant regional disparities between central European regions have to be tackled. Energy efficiency and renewable energy need to be promoted and exploited to reach a wider geographical coverage.

SO 2.2. Increasing the resilience to climate change risks in central Europe
Resilience to climate change risks represents an important need for central Europe, especially in view of its significant environmental and socio-economic impacts. A specific territorial aspect is the need for integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to best adapt to climate change. In order to build up climate resilience, general approaches need to be locally adapted towards workable and manageable, integrated solutions which can be proliferated across the entire central Europe area.

SO 2.3. Taking circular economy forward in central Europe
A climate-neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy requires up-scaled circular approaches. This economic transformation has to pay attention to the fact that a circular economy will often require a re- arrangement of value chains, changes of interdependencies and the creation of new profit options. It is important that this socio-economic transformation happens across the entire territory of central Europe and does not concentrate on only a few regions.

SO 2.4. Safeguarding the environment in central Europe
The economic and environmental significance of natural assets and landscapes in central Europe calls for a co-ordinated valorisation and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. There is a strong need to counteract negative effects of human action through integrated environmental management approaches.

SO 2.5. Greening urban mobility in central Europe
A reduction of transport emissions is one of the key targets of the European Green Deal. Smart and greener urban mobility will need an integrated response. Many functional urban areas in central Europe face similar challenges when greening their mobility. The specific territorial need lies in the vast diversity of topics (e.g. pollution and congestion) that need to be addressed in an integrated approach. Furthermore, the topic does not only include different ways of mobility, but also urban as well as urban-rural logistics.

Priority 3:  Cooperating for a better connected Europe

SO 3.1. Improving transport connections of rural and peripheral regions in central Europe
The programme area is a relevant junction in Europe. This can strategically facilitate the participation in trade and increase competitiveness. Accessibility to larger transport corridors is, however, comparatively weak. There is a need to link especially peripheral regions to the nodes of the TEN-T core network corridors (CNC), to remove bottlenecks and to bridge missing transport links in order to ensure good accessibility across central Europe. Furthermore, there is the need to reduce transport emissions by 90% by 2050, which calls for smart and sustainable approaches to cross-border mobility, intermodality and the introduction of IT-supported solutions for mobility management.

Priority 4:  Improving governance for cooperation in central Europe

SO 4.1  Strengthening  governance  for  integrated  territorial  development  in central Europe
Central Europe is highly heterogeneous both in territorial as well as in socio-economic terms. A multitude of challenges and barriers hinders the economic, social and territorial development in central Europe, which are not necessarily bound to specific administrative units. They rather relate to areas with functional ties that are characterised by economic, social, and environmental linkages. Addressing these territorial development challenges calls for integrated multi-level and multi-sectoral governance processes that consider functional linkages at the territorial level. There is a need to improve capacities of public authorities on all territorial levels for setting up and implementing integrated territorial development strategies. Cooperation should be encouraged within and between territories that are sharing functional ties.

Link Link to Programme
Call
Interreg Central Europe - First Call for Proposals
Description of call
"Interreg Central Europe - First Call for Proposals"

It is the mission of the Interreg CE Programme to “Bring regions and cities together beyond borders to find fitting solutions for their citizens, in a fair and equal way everywhere”.

To this end, the first call for proposals intends to select high quality transnational projects, in which relevant organisations cooperate to make regions more resilient to common challenges that know no borders and which cannot be solved alone.

Within the first call, project proposals can be submitted under all four programme priorities and nine specific objectives.

Priority 1:  Cooperating for a smarter central Europe

SO 1.1 Strengthening innovation capacities in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Green economy, bio-economy
  • Industry 4.0, robotisation, mechatronics, digital technologies, key enabling technologies
  • Cultural and creative industries and tourism
  • Health (care) innovation
  • Silver economy
  • Social innovation
  • Technology and innovation transfer
  • Interregional partnerships along value chains
  • Innovative schemes for financing innovation

SO 1.2  Strenghtening skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Skills for sectors of relevance for smart specialisation, e.g. Industry 4.0, digitalisation, green economy, bio-economy, silver economy, health and life sciences, cultural and creative industries, sustainable tourism
  • Capacity-building and institutional learning for smart specialisation
  • Matching skills to labour market needs of regions in industrial and digital transition
  • Competences for innovation management in SMEs and entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship
  • Counteracting regional (urban-rural) disparities of human capital and brain drain

Priority 2:  Cooperating for a greener central Europe

SO 2.1  Supporting the energy transition to a climate-neutral central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Smart integration of carbon-neutral solutions across sectors
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Energy efficiency of buildings and public infrastructures
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from industry and other sectors
  • Energy planning at local and regional levels
  • Energy demand management and behavioural change
  • Financing schemes for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments
  • Energy poverty

SO 2.2. Increasing the resilience to climate change risks in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Climate change resilience and adaptation measures
  • Climate-proof landscape and urban planning
  • Resilience to weather extremes and related hazards (rainfall events, floods, landslides, heat, draughts, water scarcity, wildfires etc.)
  • Risk awareness, prevention and management
  • Socio-economic and health-related impacts of climate change

SO 2.3. Taking circular economy forward in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Waste prevention and management, recycling and recovery of resources and raw materials
  • Repair and re-use
  • Circular economy value chains
  • Clean production processes and closed loop systems
  • Sustainable product design (e.g. eco-design) and product development processes
  • Behavioural changes of producers, consumers, public buyers etc.

SO 2.4. Safeguarding the environment in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Biodiversity conservation and recovery, including urban green spaces
  • Protection of natural heritage, ecosystems and valuable areas incl. Natura 2000 sites
  • Reduction of environmental pollution (air, water, soil, noise, light etc.) and their human health impacts
  • Integrated environmental management and sustainable use of natural resources
  • Sustainable land management and landscape planning that optimize human activities with biodiversity protection and enhancement measures
  • Ecosystem services (e.g. production of food and water, clean air, recreational benefits)
  • Restoration of degraded ecosystems
  • Sustainable tourism and the valorisation of natural heritage

SO 2.5. Greening urban mobility in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Sustainable urban mobility planning
  • Quality and efficiency of green, urban public transport services
  • Smart traffic and mobility management, including commuting solutions
  • Sustainable multimodal connections between urban and peri-urban areas
  • Sustainable multimodal urban freight and logistic solutions (including the "last mile")
  • Reduction of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from urban transport
  • Accessibility of urban public transport for everyone, especially for elderly and frail people

Priority 3:  Cooperating for a better connected Europe

SO 3.1. Improving transport connections of rural and peripheral regions in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Demand-responsive and flexible regional passenger transport
  • Accessibility of rural and remote areas and their connectivity to main EU transport corridors
  • Removal of transport barriers and bottlenecks across borders and beyond
  • Strategic regional transport and spatial planning
  • Multi-modal freight transport and logistic chains in rural and peripheral areas and connections to transport nodes

Priority 4:  Improving governance for cooperation in central Europe

SO 4.1  Strengthening  governance  for  integrated  territorial  development  in central Europe

Potential fields to be addressed in transnational actions (non-exhaustive list):

  • Reduction of administrative barriers, better policymaking and cooperation beyond borders
  • Participatory decision-making processes (e.g. citizen involvement)
  • Multi-level and multi-sector governance among areas with functional ties beyond borders
  • Integrated territorial development strategies, e.g. addressing demographic change, public services of general interest (such as health, education, social services) and tourism and culture
  • Digital governance
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Employment & Labour Market, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media, Rural & Peripheral Development, Mobility & Transport/Traffic , Regional Development & Regional Planning, Urban development, Tourism, Administration & Governance, Competitiveness, SME
Funding area Austria / Österreich
Croatia / Hrvatska
Czech Republic / Česká Republika
Germany / Deutschland Baden-Württemberg
Germany / Deutschland Bayern
Germany / Deutschland Berlin
Germany / Deutschland Brandenburg
Germany / Deutschland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Germany / Deutschland Sachsen
Germany / Deutschland Sachsen-Anhalt
Germany / Deutschland Thüringen
Germany / Deutschland Niedersachsen Braunschweig
Hungary / Magyarország
Italy / Italia Nord-Ovest
Italy / Italia Nord-Est
Poland / Polska
Slovakia / Slovensko
Slovenia / Slovenija
Origin of Applicant Austria / Österreich
Croatia / Hrvatska
Czech Republic / Česká Republika
Germany / Deutschland Baden-Württemberg
Germany / Deutschland Bayern
Germany / Deutschland Berlin
Germany / Deutschland Brandenburg
Germany / Deutschland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Germany / Deutschland Sachsen
Germany / Deutschland Sachsen-Anhalt
Germany / Deutschland Thüringen
Germany / Deutschland Niedersachsen Braunschweig
Hungary / Magyarország
Italy / Italia Nord-Ovest
Italy / Italia Nord-Est
Poland / Polska
Slovakia / Slovensko
Slovenia / Slovenija
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

The following organisations are eligible for funding in the Interreg CE Programme:

  • National, regional and local public bodies (including public equivalent bodies);
  • Private institutions, including private companies, having legal personality;
  • International organisations acting under the national law of an EU Member State or (with restrictions) under international law (see below).

International Organisations acting under international law are considered as eligible partners only when the
following two conditions are met:

  • Participation in the project through an operative seat located in one of the CE regions; and
  • Explicit acceptance of all requirements deriving from the EU Treaty and the regulations applicable in the framework of the Interreg CE Programme.

A project proposal with international organisations acting under international law in the partnership must include an ad-hoc declaration signed by these institutions. For reasons of legal security additional legal information or the signature of direct bilateral agreements between the MA and these institutions may be requested prior to granting the funds.

As a general principle, the Interreg CE Programme supports cooperation between partners located in the programme area. Organisations from outside the programme area can also participate in projects - but only in exceptional
cases.

European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) is eligible as sole beneficiary provided that the above-mentioned minimum requirements are complied with. However, to be eligible as sole beneficiary, an EGTC must be established in one of the Interreg CE Member States. The geographic location of an EGTC is considered to be in the country where it is registered and its costs shall be verified according to the control system established in that Member State.

The size of the partnership should reflect the scope of the project and remain manageable. Therefore, very large partnerships should be avoided. Further information on the recommended size of partnerships can be found in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of each call for proposals, available at the programme website.

Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details
  • at least three financing partners
  • from at least three countries
  • at least two of the financing partners located in Interreg CE regions
The first call for proposals aims at selecting projects with partnerships indicatively ranging from five to twelve partners.
Recurring Call No
Project duration max 36 months
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

The programme will allocate around EUR 72 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the first call for proposals. An indicative ERDF allocation to the four programme priorities is presented below. When selecting projects to be funded, such allocation may be adapted by the monitoring committee (MC) according to programme needs.

  • Priority 1 - EUR 22 million
  • Priority 2 - EUR 36 million
  • Priority 3 - EUR 7 million
  • Priority 4 - EUR 7 million

Interreg CE projects receive a maximum co-financing rate of 80% from the ERDF for their activities. The ERDF contribution to partners might be reduced if State aid is granted under the de minimis regime within the project.

The first call for proposals aims at selecting projects with budgets indicatively ranging from EUR 1.2 to 2.4 million ERDF contribution.

Submission In the application form, all essential information about the project must be clearly presented. The offline application form cannot be submitted but it provides you with many useful tips and practical guidance on how to  complete various chapters before entering information into our online submission platform (Jems). Jems will become available at least three weeks before call closure.
Contact Details

Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme - Joint Secretariat

Kirchberggasse 33-35/11, A-1070 Vienna 
Phone:  +43 1 8908 088 - 2403
Email: info(at)interreg-central.eu

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