Launched by the European Union in 1990, Interreg programmes are intended to facilitate integration within Europe, as well as to promote a balanced development across national borders.

The programmes have continued to develop ever since and support regional development actors in implementing cross-border project ideas. Switzerland has been participating since the beginning and has already been involved in hundreds of cross-border, transnational and interregional projects.

The three strands of Interreg are the following:

  • Interreg A - cross-border cooperation programmes
  • Interreg B - transnational cooperation programmes
  • Interreg Europe - interregional cooperation programme

Participation in strands A is the responsibility of the cantons. The ARE coordinates the Swiss participation in the transnational cooperation programmes of Interreg B and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO is in charge of Interreg Europe.

Transnational cooperation (Interreg B)

The aim of transnational cooperation among national, regional and local bodies is to help improve territorial integration within Europe through the establishment of major transnational regional groupings. Almost 20% of the Interreg budget is devoted to transnational cooperation.

The European Commission has defined a series of regions within which programmes are established and projects can be implemented. Switzerland participates in two such transnational cooperation programmes: the Alpine Space and the North-West Europe programmes.

Swiss participation in Interreg B

Swiss participation in Interreg programmes has fallen under the Swiss Confederation's New Regional Policy (NRP). Any project that wants to receive financial support from the Confederation must contribute to the objectives of this policy. If this is not the case, interested Swiss parties can become involved without NPR support.

The ARE represents Switzerland on the steering committees for the Interreg B programmes. It also acts as contact point. To this end, the ARE is responsible for publicising these programmes in Switzerland, supporting partners involved in the projects, and providing information to those interested in participating in new Interreg B projects.