Mediterranean cooperation: 15 countries pave the way for the launch of first call for proposals under Interreg NEXT MED Programme
The first meeting of the Monitoring Committee (MC) of the Interreg NEXT MED Programme was held in Cagliari, Italy on 14th and 15th of March 2023. The MC is the decision-making body of the Programme, chaired by the Region of Sardinia as Managing Authority, and is composed by members from the participating countries, as well as the European Commission.
The meeting was attended by delegates from 15 countries of the Mediterranean area - Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Jordan, Malta, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, which had already participated in the previous editions of the Programme (namely ENPI CBC Med 2007-2013 and ENI CBC Med 2014-2020), and Algeria and Türkiye as newcomers – as well as representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO), the hosting institutions of the two Programme Branch Offices (Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Jordan and the Generalitat Valenciana, Spain) and TESIM (Technical Support to the Implementation and Management of ENI CBC programmes, an EU-funded technical assistance project).
It was a strategic appointment, which gave the operational start to a new cycle of activities and opportunities within one of the largest transnational cooperation initiatives financed by the European Union under the European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg) goal of the Cohesion Policy. With a budget of €253 million, Interreg NEXT MED's main objective is to contribute to a smart, sustainable, fair development for all in the Mediterranean area, through balanced cooperation and multilevel governance.
During the Monitoring Committee meeting, besides the adoption of its rules of procedure, the following items under discussion were approved:
- Key features of the first call for proposals, including budget allocation by priority, type of projects and rules for participation;
- Selection process and evaluation criteria;
- Functions of the Branch Offices and the Joint Secretariat and terms of reference for the selection of their respective staff;
- Communication activities to support the first call for proposals, incoming a series of information events in the participating countries;
- Action plan for developing synergies and coordination with other programmes/initiatives implemented in the Mediterranean area.
In addition, the state of play of the Financing Agreements to be signed by the 15 Partner/IPA (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance) countries which have adhered to the Programme was presented by the representative of the European Commission: this signing is an essential step to allow non-EU countries to receive funding from the Interreg NEXT MED Programme.
Following the decision of the Monitoring Committee, the first call for proposals, worth €103 million in EU funding, will address the 4 thematic priorities of the Programme, namely:
1. A more competitive and smarter Mediterranean (strengthening of research and innovation capacities, competitiveness of SMEs and job creation);
2. A greener, low-carbon and resilient Mediterranean (energy efficiency, sustainable water management, adaptation to climate change, transition to a circular economy);
3. A more social and inclusive Mediterranean (education and training, health care),
4. A better cooperation governance for the Mediterranean’ (development of local governance processes to foster cooperation and dialogue between citizens, civil society, and public institutions).
Among the other items discussed during the Monitoring Committee, it is worth mentioning the multi-programme coordination mechanism, a pilot initiative aimed to reinforce synergies and complementarities among programmes and initiatives implemented in the Mediterranean. The mechanism currently involves the Interreg Euro-MED, Italy-France Maritime and NEXT MED programmes and organizes its first joint event under the title “Towards a more sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean” in Florence, Italy on 4th of May 2023. More information will be soon available on this website.
The Managing Authority would like to thank all the members of the Monitoring Committee for their positive and constructive to achieve a successful meeting.