The Future of European Funding in the East of England by mirit35

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									East of England Europe & International Affairs Panel                           Thursday 30 June 2005


DISCUSSION PAPER                                                                            ITEM 4

       The Future of Territorial Cooperation Funding in the East of England

        Report prepared by David Hackett, East of England Regional Assembly
                                (tel: 01284 729415)


This paper updates members on recent activities undertaken in the East of England
in relation to the Territorial Cooperation debate.

Members are invited to adopt the recommendations.


        Introduction

    1. Members have received a number of reports over previous months relating to
       the development of the debate at European and national level on the future
       new Territorial Cooperation objective in the context of the overall 2007 – 2013
       European budget. This area of the budget has now come under increased
       pressure due to the necessity to find a compromise amongst member States.

    2. At appropriate times, the region has submitted position statements to the
       European Commission, the UK Government and relevant networks to ensure
       that the region’s views and needs are taken into account in developing this
       policy.

    3. The new Territorial Cooperation Objective involves negotiations between the
       Member State governments and the European Commission with involvement
       from the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions, and will
       include contributions from a broad range of interested parties including the
       regional partnership from the East of England.


    4. The East of England currently benefits from the current European Community
       Initiative known as INTERREG through 2 strands -

        INTERREG IIIB

    5. North Sea Programme – The North Sea programme covers the coastal parts
       of the regions including Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. The
       programme has been worth £ 31 Million to the UK and ODPM have confirmed
       that The East of England has drawn down the more funds from this than any
       other UK region.

    6. North West Europe Programme – The entire region is covered by this
       programme. which allows us to work with Northern parts of Germany, France,
       Belgium and The Netherlands. Successful projects include those working on
       sustainable housing, environmental and coastal zone management. The UK


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Item 4 – The future of the Territorial Cooperation Objective in the East of England
East of England Europe & International Affairs Panel                           Thursday 30 June 2005


        has received £ 94 Million from this programme. Approximately £6 million of
        this has been drawn down by East of England partners.


    7. According to OPPM figures from 2004 the Eastern region has drawn down
       more funds from Interreg IIIB that any other UK region.


        Interreg IIIC (Networking)

    8. This strand represents a small amount of Community Funding which has
       proved very useful in allowing partners to work with regions from across
       Europe not just from near neighbours. Projects have been developed to solve
       issues of rural entrepreneurship, new town planning and regeneration issues
       amongst other.


        The Commission Proposal

    9. The original Commission proposal increases the available funds under
       Interreg from 2.5% to 3.9% of the total structural funds budget.

    10. 47.7%of this budget would be available for cross- border cooperation (for
        which Essex and Suffolk would qualify)

    11. A further 47.7% of funds would be available for Transnational elements
        (cooperation with North West Europe and North Seas partners)

    12. The remaining 4.5% is left for the new networking strand.

        The Luxembourg Presidency Proposal

    13. Under the Luxembourg Presidency proposals the budget for this strand would
        be cut from 4% of the total budget to 3%. Additionally they have proposed a
        large movement of funds from the Transnational and Interregional pot to the
        cross – border pot.

    14. The East of England region’s position, as approved by previous Panels, is that
        whilst appreciating the need for budgetary constraint this should not be at the
        expense on the Interreg programme. With the likely reduction in funds
        through the employment and competitiveness Objectives we are now even
        more reliant on the future Interreg programme.

    15. Unfortunately however, no single Member State is championing the Interreg
        Programme within the Council of Ministers. This is the only genuinely pan-
        European programme which gives regions opportunities to share best practice


    16. The European parliament has adopted a mid way position as demonstrated in
        the paper in Item 1.


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East of England Europe & International Affairs Panel                           Thursday 30 June 2005




    17. As a result of the Luxembourg proposal the European Commission has
        proposed 2 options for the adoption of new transnational zones. These are:

               The extension of the North Sea Programme Area to include South east
                England and Northern France. Option 2 would be the preferred option
                for the East of England as this would allow Bedfordshire and
                Hertfordshire to access North Sea programme.

               The shrinking of the current North West Europe Programme either to
                include the UK other than Scotland and the South West or to exclude
                the UK. Evidently we need to support the first option as this would
                allow us to continue to work with our near continental neighbours on
                issues of common interest such as coastal zone management.

        Developments on Cross- Border Cooperation

    18. Although the European Parliament supported our amendments regarding
        flexibility of the 150 km limit this is not supported by UK government. The
        logic is that any extension of the limit would lead to an overall loss in funding
        for the UK due to its lack of borders.

    19. The legislation would provide for a ‘case by case’ basis assessment of this
        limit. It is not clear whether this means per project or per geographical area.

    20. The UK government’s current thinking on this is that we should have one
        cross border programme covering the whole of the UK eligible areas. This
        would include Essex and Suffolk as well as most of the South Coast of
        England.

    21. The Programme would be managed by ODPM, possibly through one of the
        regional government offices.

    22. Following the adoption of the Council of Ministers and European Parliament
        the structure of the new funding areas towards the types of areas which will be
        funded.

        INTERACT PROJECT

    23. INTERACT is a part of the Interreg Programme designed to look at the
        benefits and learn from the experience of Interreg.

    24. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are currently involved in a European funded project
        under INTERACT known as Time2c.

    25. The bid focuses on the Southern North Sea Area and looks at the maritime
        related issues that offer opportunities for cross border cooperation.

    26. Ultimately the project would wish to agree a multi sectoral vision on cooperation.
        This could eventually make up an operational programme for this area.


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    27. This could potentially feed into work on the preparation by EERA, EEDA and
        GO East on developing a future Territorial Cooperation Programme.

    28. Due to the importance of the work being undertaken within this project it is felt
        that it may be useful for EERA to participate as observers within Time2C. The
        knowledge gained from this would be extremely useful in building the regions’
        case for future territorial cooperation funds.




Recommendations

Panel Members are asked to endorse the following:


            1. That the Panel reaffirm the regions commitment to the
               Territorial Cooperation Objective in terms of the budget
               outlined in the Commission’s proposals of July 2004 and
               that we reject the Luxembourg compromise text.

            2. That the Region revises its position to favour the option
               to extend the Transnational North Sea Region to cover
               Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

            3. That EERA participates as an observer in the INTERACT
               project Time2C with the aim of building a more concrete
               vision of how cross-border Maritime cooperation will
               look post 2006.




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Item 4 – The future of the Territorial Cooperation Objective in the East of England

								
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