Programme Manual

I. Common provisions

I.1    Note to the Reader

This manual outlines the main rules, requirements and procedures for organisations that plan to apply for funding from the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE (CE) Programme and for beneficiaries of selected projects. This manual therefore only describes essential elements of key importance.

More detailed information and guidance is provided in a variety of support measures, tools and templates, which are linked throughout the document. Please note that these support measures will be updated regularly, for latest information please refer to xxx.


The Interreg CE Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the European Territorial Cooperation goal of EU Cohesion Policy 2021-2027.

The programme area covers regions and cities from nine EU Member States: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. In the current programme, the area was enlarged by Braunschweig region in Germany compared to the previous programme.

CE programme map

The list of all participating regions is available on the programme website.


I.2.2.1   Programme Strategy

The Interreg CE Programme envisions a united central Europe that cooperates to become smarter, greener and better connected together. Based on shared needs and a common identity, the programme aims for a trustful culture of cooperation beyond borders.

Its mission is to bring regions and cities together beyond borders to find fitting solutions for their citizens in a fair and equal way everywhere. It encourages and supports transnational cooperation to make regions more resilient to common challenges that know no borders and which cannot be solved alone. These challenges include among others economic transition processes, climate change, and the long-term socioeconomic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme is organised in four funding priorities that are further broken down into nine programme specific objectives (SOs). 

SOs


The programme strategy was agreed by the participating Member States following thorough consultations with more than a thousand of relevant stakeholders. The complete partner involvement process is described in the founding document for the Interreg CE Programme (IP), which is available at xxx. This document also offers a detailed description of the challenges that affect central European regions, as well as of the above funding priorities and specific objectives.


I.2.2.2   Programme Intervention Logic

The programme intervention logic demonstrates how supported actions and developed outputs address the challenges and needs tackled by the programme. It also indicates how the programme will deliver its expected results

IL

Programme outputs are clustered in four types:

  • Cooperations;
  • Strategies and action plans;
  • Pilot actions;
  • Solutions.

These outputs are expected to lead to programme results, which are clustered themselves in the types below:

Outputs

Programme outputs and results build on outputs and results achieved by the funded projects. In order to measure the achievement of programme outputs and results, project outputs and results are therefore measured by means of corresponding output and result indicators. These are further explained in chapter I.3.4.

The intervention logic for each programme specific objective is described in detail in chapter 2 of the Interreg CE IP document, with an explanation of the specific territorial needs, thematic topics to be addressed by transnational cooperation actions and examples of actions as well as expected results.

The ERDF programme budget is EUR 224.623.801, with following allocations to the four programme priorities: 

Priority ERDF (EUR)
P1. Cooperating for a smarter central Europe 67.387.140
P2. Cooperating for a greener central Europe 112.311.901
P3. Cooperating for a better connected central Europe 22.462.380
P4. Improving governance for cooperation in central Europe 22.462.380
Total 224.623.801

 The indicative allocation of funds to calls for proposals is defined in the respective Terms of Reference (ToR) of an open call, available at xxx.

The ERDF co-financing rate is 80% and beneficiaries have to ensure the needed co-financing of their activities. For more information, please refer to chapter I.3.1.6. 

The governance and management of the programme is shared between various bodies that, in compliance with the EU Structural Funds Regulation, are in charge of managing, coordinating, supervising and controlling the implementation of the programme.

  • Monitoring Committee (MC)

The MC steers the programme, verfies its sound implementation and approves the projects for funding. It is composed of representatives of the nine Member States participating in the programme.

  • Managing Authority (MA)

The MA is responsible for the management and implementation of the programme in accordance with the principle of sound financial management and in line with the applicable EU regulations. The MA also carries out the accounting function, i.e. it submits applications for payment to the European Commission and pays out ERDF co-financing to lead partners (LP).

  • Joint Secretariat (JS)

The JS is established by the MA and it assists the MA and the MC in carrying out their respective functions. The JS also undertakes the day-to-day implementation of the programme and provides guidance and support to project applicants and beneficiaries.

  • National Contact Points (NCP)

The nine Member States participating in the Programme established NCPs representing the programme on national, regional and local levels. In cooperation with the JS, NCPs provide information to potential applicants, advise and assist beneficiaries, communicate programme achievements and support programme management.

  • National Controllers

Each Member State has a control system in charge of verifying that co-financed products and services were delivered. National controllers also check the compliance of projects with applicable laws as well as programme rules and requirements. For further information on national control requirements please see chapter III.3.1.

  • Audit Authority (AA) and Group of Auditors (GoA)

The AA carries out system audits and audits on projects in order to provide independent assurance to the European Commission that the programme management and control system functions effectively and that expenditure submitted to the European Commission is legal and regular. The AA is assisted by the GoA comprising of representatives of bodies responsible for audits in each programme Member State. For further information on audits please see chapter III.3.2.

 Contacts to and further information on all programme bodies are available at xxx.

I.2.5.1   General Information

The Interreg CE Joint Electronic Monitoring System (Jems) is a customised version of the common monitoring system developed by the Interact Programme[1], which is used by a large community of Interreg programmes.

Jems is an online system conceived to cover the full project and progamme life-cycle in one monitoring tool that allows to reduce the need for additional paper processes to a minimum. Furthermore, the concept of “one single entry point” of data is followed, avoiding multiple manual entry of the same data, through automatic transfer of data to different sections in the system. Users can fill in online forms (e.g. application, reporting, assessment) and upload/download files. 

I.2.5.2   Technical Requirements

The Interreg CE Jems is available at https://jems.interreg-central.eu . It can be accessed via standard webbrowsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox (recent versions). For working in Jems, it is recommended to use a PC or notebook rather than mobile devices.  

I.2.5.3   Access and Support

Upon registration in Jems (https://jems.interreg-central.eu) users have access to the system as applicant users. Once a project is approved and contracted the LP user will be assigned to the project, who in turn assigns the partner users to the project partners. Specific access rights as needed by e.g. programme bodies, controllers, external experts or auditors will be given by the system administrator through assignment of the respective role.

A helpdesk for technical support specifically dedicated to Jems can be reached via email (jems@interreg-central.eu). The “?” icon in the Jems top menu bar also provides the help contact details.

Further guidance on the different sections and features in Jems will be available at xxx. 


[1] For more information on the Interact Jems initiative, please visit this page: www.interact-eu.net/#o=jems

The programme supports transnational projects composed of public and private organisations that want to work together and cooperate beyond borders on solutions for common challenges of central European regions.

An Interreg CE project should implement cooperation actions which include the development and implementation of strategies, action plans, tools, training, pilot actions and related solutions. Project activities should lead to the output types as defined at programme level, notably: cooperations, strategies and action plans, pilot actions, solutions (see chapter I.2.2.2 on the programme intervention logic).

A project should demonstrate the translation of outputs into concrete, visible and sustainable results that lead to an improvement of the initial situation.

This chapter presents the general requirements and main features applicable to all projects funded by the Interreg CE Programme. It also describes how the intervention logic should be set up at the project level.

Please note that a specific call for proposals might set specific restrictions on the projects to be funded. This might concern the project thematic focus, the size of the partnership, the budget size, the project duration, etc. Information on this is available in the Terms of Reference of the call for proposals to which your project belongs to, available at xxxx.

 

The regulatory framework for the management of Interreg CE as well as any other EU-funded projects is based on the Financial Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 966/2012.

Furthermore, all general rules concerning the structural and investment funds are also applicable. The following legal norms and documents apply (non-exhaustive list):

  • Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, the Just Transition Fund and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Instrument for Financial Support for Border Management and Visa Policy (Common Provisions Regulation - CPR);
  • Regulation (EU) 2021/1058 on the European Regional Development Fund and on the Cohesion Fund (ERDF Regulation);
  • Regulation (EU) 2021/1059 on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments (Interreg Regulation);
  • Implementing acts and delegated acts adopted in accordance with the aforementioned regulations;
  • Other regulations and directives applicable to the implementation of projects co-funded by the ERDF;

All above regulations are available in its latest version in the EUR-Lex database of European Union Law at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/homepage.html.

In case of amendment of the above-mentioned legal norms and documents, the latest version applies.

Last but but not least the Interreg CE Programme document (IP) gives the legal framework for the implementation of the programme.



II. Project application