The European Commission set out an initial framework for new Interreg operational programmes for the 2021-2027 period in January. Shortly afterwards, the current North Sea Region (NSR) Joint Secretariat (JS) published its NSR Orientation Paper which starts to shape the programme.
A Programme Preparation Group (PPG) representing the NSR’s participating countries was set up to steer development; it has already conducted its first two meetings.
The JS produced a State of Play Report to further inform this work; this outlines lessons learned from the current programme up to the end of 2019. They are also commissioning a Scoping Study including a multi-level policy analysis and synthesis of relevant regional data.
Stakeholder consultation is an important part of the programming process and, as face to face events are being put on hold for the time being, the JS are creating ways to harvest stakeholder input online. This may be followed by physical workshops and meetings later this year.
The JS has asked for feedback and suggestions for the future programme – NIWE members will be asked for their thoughts and contributions. Please feel free to share comments and opinions with Danny Brennan – he will then provide the JS with a consolidated submission on behalf of NIWE. (which we will email to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Stakeholder input”).
The JS have set up a ‘Stakeholder Exchange Group’ on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13843645/ which aims to report on progress and enable stakeholders to share views and comments. This group is ‘open for anyone with an interest in the future of the North Sea Region Programme’.
Finally, the NSR State of Play Report (April 2020) is written with half an eye on shaping development of the next programme. It outlines what went well and also identifies room for improvement.
The report also shows that programme-funded projects strengthen European policy implementation, while feasibility demonstrations and new knowledge produced by projects are inspiring mainstream policy development.
Among many points and conclusions, the analysis found that cross-priority thematic approaches may be an interesting avenue to explore in the future. This would play to NIWE members’ strengths. The report also shows that programme-funded projects strengthen European policy implementation, while feasibility demonstrations and new knowledge produced by projects are inspiring mainstream policy development. Another key finding is the highlighting of the important role that smaller, regional cities play(ed) in supporting regional cohesion in the Programme.