A Community Initiative concerning transnational co-operation on spatial and regional development


What is the Baltic Sea Region INTERREG III B programme?

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) INTERREG III B programme belongs to one of the three different strands of the European Community Initiative INTERREG III. These programmes address transeuropean co-operation and will encourage harmonious and balanced development of the European territory. Strand B of the INTERREG III Initiative supports transnational co-operation projects. The BSR INTERREG III B is the successor of the former INTERREG II C BSR programme. The most important reference has been the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) adopted by the EU ministers responsible for spatial planning in 1999.

BSR INTERREG IIIB is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the Structural Funds, and co-financed by national project partners. The project period is 2001-2006, the project implementation period is till 2008.

The INTERREG III B programme for the Baltic Sea Region is seeking to achieve a higher level of spatial integration and competitiveness through intensified regional, economic and social interaction and development. The new programme is implemented in line with the Northern Dimension Action Plan, the VASAB 2010 strategies, programmes of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), and with the programmes of HELCOM and Baltic 21.

The programme document was prepared by experts from national and regional administrations of the 11 participating countries. The first open call for project applications was launched in autumn 2001. Two calls per year are expected to be held with closing dates around 1st April and 1st October.

What is the co-operation area in the Baltic Sea Region?

What are the EU financing instruments available?

BSR INTERREG III B functions in eleven countries covering a large European area stretching from Bremen to the Barents Region, from Kaliningrad to Kirkenes, from Brest to Bodö.

Only project partners from EU Member States can apply for funding from the BSR INTERREG III B programme. Entire Denmark, Finland and Sweden are eligible areas, as well as the German federal states (Länder) of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein and Niedersachsen (only NUTS II area Regierungsbezirk Lüneburg).

For EU Member States the total ERDF-budget amounts to ˆ97,1 Million. This amount is matched with about the same amount of co-financing from national project partners of the EU Member States. National co-financing is mainly to be public funds. The general ERDF-funding rate for projects is up to 50 % of the total eligible budget. To encourage participation of project partners from Objective 1 areas (East German Länder, parts of Sweden and Finland) in transnational projects, the ERDF assistance can be increased to up to 75%. In addition, private funds are welcome to top up project budgets. The contributions from Norway, and from the EU Phare and Tacis programmes will also play an essential role in financing actions. Additional national funds and other bilateral aid funds are needed to facilitate participation of Eastern BSR partners.

For partners from Norway the Norwegian government has provided a separate budget of ˆ6 Million for BSR co-operation.

For partners from the EU accession countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the PHARE CBC (cross-border co-operation) programme will be the main potential source of funding. In addition, national funds will be made available.

The total amount available from PHARE CBC, budget line 2001, is ˆ3 million per country per year and is divided into Small Project Fund (SPF) - ˆ1 million (project size ˆ 20.000-50.000) and Grant Scheme - ˆ2 million (project size ˆ50.000-300.000). Call for proposals will be open in autumn 2002.

For Russian partners from Kaliningrad, St Petersburg surrounded by Leningrad Oblast, the Karelian Republic, Pskov Oblast, Novgorod Oblast and Murmask Oblast are welcome to participate in joint projects as well as partners from Archangelsk Oblast and Nenzen Okrug. A potential funding source is the EU TACIS CBC programme.

For partners from Belarus, the provinces of Minsk, Grodno, Brest and Vitebsk are eligible areas for co-operation also using TACIS CBC programme.

The total amount available from TACIS CBC for 2002 calls is ˆ8.4 Million and is divided into Small Project Funds for project size ˆ100.000 - 200.000 and Micro Project Funds for projects up to ˆ50.000. Lead applicant can be from Russian eligible regions, EU Member States or Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland. Minimum partnership is two countries. Minimum amount required from partners for co-financing (in cash or in kind) is 20%.

What are the topics addressed by BSR INTERREG III B programme?

The BSR INTERREG III B partners should address topics identified under the priorities and measures of the programme. The projects are directed at three main fields (priorities):

The first type - priority 1: promotion of spatial development approaches and actions for specific territories and sectors with regard to the whole Baltic Sea Region or at least to larger development zones, islands and other specific areas. Projects in this priority will also support preparation of spatial development concepts within specific sectors. Within this priority three measures will be distinguished:

measure 1: Supporting joint strategies and implementation actions for macro-regions 

measure 2: Promoting sustainable spatial development of specific sectors

measure3: Strengthening integrated development of coastal zones, islands and other specific areas

The second type - priority 2: promotion of territorial structures supporting sustainable BSR development and integration of the Baltic Sea Region. The creation of preconditions for improved access to information society is also a topic to be developed within this priority:

measure 1: Promoting balanced polycentric settlement structures

measure 2: Creating sustainable communication links for improved spatial integration

measure 3: Enhancing good management of cultural and natural heritage and of natural resources

The third type -priority 3: transnational promotion of institution building, strengthening the capacity for spatial development activities between regional and local authorities in order to enhance transnational spatial development and to eliminate hindrance.

What are the BSR INTERREG III B projects working on and what results are expected?

Eligible activities are, for example, workshops and seminars, dissemination of information and analyses such as market research. Joint pilot actions, implementation of best practice and building up networks are other examples.

Examples of outputs are:

  • framework plans or sector concepts for specific areas,

  • feasibility studies including investment plans,

  • management and marketing concepts,

  • small scale infrastructure investment for model and pilot projects of transnational relevance,

  • transnational networks and databases.

Who can apply for funding from the BSR INTERREG III B?

Only EU Members States are eligible for ERDF funds. The eligible project partners are public authorities on national, regional, sub-regional and local level, research and training institutions, foundations, NGOs and non-profit organisations. Project’s partners can be from the whole BSR.

Where to present project ideas and how to search for partners?

The Joint Secretariat assists and gives advices in developing project ideas and also gives support when it comes to project partner search. If you have a project idea you would like to disseminate to the public and market it for potential project partners you are welcome to fill in a "Project Idea and Part Search Form". This form along with all the collected project ideas up to date is to be found on the BSR INTERREG III B homepage. The Joint Secretariat is also regularly arranging forums with special focus on partner search and to assist applicants with project development.

How the programme is managed?

A joint Steering Committee comprising representatives of 11 participating countries selects projects and makes funding decisions. A joint Monitoring Committee oversees the use of ERDF funds. A joint secretariat, located in Rostock, Germany is responsible for the administration and management of the programme and in Karlskrona, Sweden is concentrated on assisting in project generation, development and advising, including INTERREG-PHARE-TACIS co-operation.

The ERDF funds are managed by the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein, acting as managing and paying authority for the programme. National sub-committees, acting on local and regional level, have advisory status in close contact with Joint Secretariat and Steering Committee members. They are already established in the most countries participating in the programme. National sub-committees established in CEEC and NIS countries shell include representatives of national authorities responsible for PHARE or TACIS funding.

Which projects will be selected?

Priority will be given to projects requiring transnational action and delivering added value through joint solutions. Partners from at least three different countries must be involved, of which at least two should be financial contributors, and one from an EU Member State. Projects should evidently contribute to a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development and to ecological, economic and social cohesion in the Baltic Sea Region. The projects should also refer to spatial planning, follow a multi-sectoral and territorial approach, and respect EU policies. Preference will be given to projects focusing on actions going beyond networking and exchange of experience. Activities preparing investment will gain support above research or purely methodological studies. Participation of project’s partners with financial support from PHARE CBC and TACIS CBC programmes will be taken also under consideration.

If you wish to know more about the BSR INTERREG III B programme and BSR co-operation or need assistance how to involve CEEC\NIS partners using PHARE CBC and TACIS CBC programmes, feel free to contact us or visit our web site at

BSR INTERREG III B Joint Secretariat Rostock

Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein

Grubenstrasse 20

18055 Rostock, Germany

Tel: + 49 381 45484-5281

Fax: + 49 381 45484-5282


BSR INTERREG III B Joint Secretariat Karlskrona

The Baltic Institute

Amiralitetstorget 27

371 38  Karlskrona, Sweden

Tel: + 46 455 33 51 98

Fax: + 46 455 144 68


If you wish to find out more details about the EU fund, TACIS CBC programme, for Russian and Belarussian partners taking part in Baltic Sea Region cooperation please contact also the European Commission or the local office in St.Petersburg:

European Commission

EuropaAid Co-ordination Office

AIDCO-unit A\3, L-41, 2\110

Rue de la Loi 200

B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

Fax. +32 2 296 0423


St. Petersburg Liaison office

Delegation of the European Commission in the Russian Federation

Malaya Konyshennaya, 1/3 - A, office B 13 -a

191186 St.Petersburg, Russia

Tel. +7 (812) 103 54 60

Fax. +7 (812) 103 54 64



Regarding Russian partners willing to take part in BSR INTERREG IIIB projects please contact also the secretariat of Russian National Sub-committee

Leontief Centre

International Centre for Social and Economic Research

6-B per. Antonenko

190000, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Tel: +7 812 314-4119

Fax: +7 812 319 9814