The UK has been involved with European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes, most notably INTERREG, since their inception over 25 years ago. Looking to the future, the opportunities for the UK to engage in INTERREG will change dramatically, mainly because of Brexit, but also changes in the wider policy and budgetary context. A key area of policy debate, and an area which will inform decisions on its future role, is the effectiveness of INTERREG. Central to this is an assessment of the achievements of INTERREG, based on an analysis of past experience and an understanding of progress during the current 2014-2020 programming period.
This paper considers the achievements of INTERREG in the UK. The significant challenges involved in ETC are highlighted, as the significant challenges in clearly identifying and measuring the results of the projects funded through INTERREG in its current form and their value for money. However, based on this review significant strengths and areas of achievement are identified. The areas of activity identified in this engage with areas of economic growth policy, notably innovation, skills, infrastructure, new business, trade, energy and clean tech and key sectors, and developing the best institutions and infrastructures to support development. At the same time, they include strong local roots and external engagement. In these areas INTERREG programmes and their projects do deliver benefits to people and businesses, but crucially they leverage or drive wider productive change and gains allowing UK organisations to ‘do more of what they do and do it better’.
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