Executive Summary and Findings
Scotland has participated in European Territorial Cooperation (ETC), also known as Interreg, for 30 years. In the current programming period (2014-2020) Scotland has participated in seven ETC Programmes:
- The Atlantic Area
- Interreg Europe
- Interreg VA – Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland Cross Border
- The North West Europe
- The North Sea Region
- The Northern Periphery and Arctic
As the current programmes come to a close we wished to inform our own thinking on how best to engage with the future programmes (2021-2027) so that we can work together with partner countries to meet our shared needs. To aid this we ran a public consultation from 10th January to 24th April 2020.
There were a total of 21 responses to the consultation, largely from representative organisations, public sector organisations, including local authorities, and business support organisations. The responses show a clear preference for participation in the next programming period. Reasons for this are summarised below:
- ETC is a well-established way to facilitate meaningful and mutually beneficial international collaboration (this was also noted in the Consultation into the Replacement for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Post-EU Exit in Scotland)
- It helps to identify new solutions to common challenges in a cost effective way which minimises duplication by enabling the pooling of knowledge and resources.
- It allows partners to achieve “critical mass to develop, test and pilot specialised/ innovative actions and activities in ways that would not be possible working in isolation”.
- The key themes from the consultation are green and blue priorities (low carbon, blue economy, renewable energy). Geographical priorities include the Island of Ireland and Nordic countries.
It is important to note that the consultation opened before the current Covid-19 crisis. While some responses did make reference to it, other responses may have been formulated before the full economic and societal impacts began to be realised. In the wake of the crisis, the world has dramatically changed and priorities for the next programming period will change too. This report, and the consultation responses that informed it, remain valid nonetheless as valuable contributions towards planning for the next programming period.