Description of the Programme

 

Description

With a financial allocation of more than 88.6 million euros, the Interreg Italy-Slovenia 2021-27 Cooperation Program will implement its strategy on the basis of three Policy Objectives (POs) concerning a more competitive, innovative and smarter Europe (PO1), a greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe (PO2) and a more social and inclusive Europe (PO4), as well as an Interreg Specific Objective for an efficient public administration (ISO1).

The Programme will cover the seven-year European programming period 2021-2027 and will be developed with a view to continuity and capitalization of the previous results, achieved during the programming period 2014-2020, which financed 63 projects in the sectors of competitiveness, research and innovation, protection and enhancement of cultural and natural resources and cross-border services.

 

Geographical coverage, Programme area and common strategy (ref. Section 1 of the Program

The Programme area extends over a total surface of 19,841 km2 and has a total population of approximately 3 million inhabitants. It covers 5 Italian NUTS 3 regions (Venice, Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia and Trieste) and 5 Slovenian NUTS 3 regions (Primorsko-notranjska, Osrednjeslovenska, Gorenjska, Obalno-kraška and Goriška). Overall, on NUTS 2 level on the Italian side, the regions involved are those of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, while for the Slovenian side Slovene Western and Eastern Cohesion regions. The five Italian NUTS 3 regions are one in NUTS 2 region Veneto and four in NUTS 2 region Friuli Venezia Giulia and the five NUTS 3 regions on the Slovenian side are one in NUTS 2 cohesion region Vzhodna Slovenija and four in NUTS 2 cohesion region Zahodna Slovenija.

The cooperation area embraces various spatial development models. A particular example is represented by the functional area between the municipalities of Gorizia (IT), Nova Gorica and Šempeter-Vrtojba (SLO), where a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) - the most advanced form of cross-border territorial cooperation at European level - has been operating since 2011. The EGTC shares goals relating to common modernization and innovation in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban transport, logistics, energy and economic development; moreover, the title of the European City of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica-Gorizia has a strategic importance for the Programme Area since it represents a driving force for development.

 

The Programme area, which is highly heterogeneous in geographical terms, includes coastal areas, mountain ranges, rural and urban areas (Trieste, Udine, Gorizia, Nova Gorica, Ljubljana, Pordenone, Venice, conurbations Koper-Island-Pirano and Kranj-Postojna) and lagoon areas.

Below is a map of the Programme area.

 

 

The following table presents the challenges and desired changes for each policy objective chosen by the Program as the basis for defining the Programme's specific objectives and actions.

Policy Objectives

 

PO 1

A more competitive and smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation and regional ICT connectivity

 

Challenges

  • Negative effects of the pandemic in 2020 on both Italian and Slovenian economies probably impacting pre-pandemic positive trends
  • Majority of enterprises relatively small and thus with low innovation capacity, therefore, less competitive
  • Low level of expenditure in R&D and specifically in industrial research 
  • Scarce collaborative approach in innovation processes
  • Opportunities deriving from the integration of Smart Specialisation Strategies
  • Digitalization as a horizontal, cross-cutting need
  • Demand for administrative and bureaucratic simplification and digitalization especially in rural and remote areas
  • Digitalization as potential for business support environment and clusters’ promotion

 

Desired Change

  • Developing technological solutions to favour business diversification and to respond to demand for new services deriving from the emergency situation generated by the pandemic
  • Developing technological solutions to favour active ageing and inclusion of the eldest and vulnerable people
  • Implementing integrated development strategies to promote economic recovery opportunities through ICT and circular economy (green and blue technology) (also PO2)
  • Promoting technological upgrade and improving technology transfer to SMEs 
  • Strengthening cooperation between R&I centers and enterprises promoting the creation of cross border clusters
  • Increasing and giving continuity to investments in R&D and applied research
  • Promoting capitalization of R&I results achieved at regional level in a new integrated framework taking advantage of Smart Specialisation Strategies shared priorities
  • Reducing development disparities through ICT and social innovation
  • Capitalizing the achieved best practices and promoting/ strengthening the diffusion of ICT
  • Improving bilingual services to citizens and businesses through ICT (also PO4)
  • Offering social-health services through technological solutions as telemedicine (also PO4)

 

 

PO 2

A greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation and risk prevention and management

Challenges

  • Bottlenecks in urban mobility due to traffic and congestion
  • Common struggle pursuing global sustainable development objectives
  • Climate change impacts on both sides of the border, such as global warming, vulnerability to floods and natural disasters
  • Variety of climatic zones and landscapes
  • Need for further joint interventions to mitigate climate change in the fields of water management, soil consumption, forest management, and natural risks prevention in a long-term perspective
  • High energy consumption especially by transports and buildings causing air pollution and CO2 emissions
  • Different governance of water and waste management in the two sides of the border and high infrastructure costs

 

Desired Change

  • Sharing technologies and solutions for micro-public transport strategies
  • Reducing CO2 emissions by improving energy efficiency as well as by developing more sustainable mobility in line with European Green Deal objectives
  • Enhancing Green Infrastructures Networks and foster shared approaches to manage and promote protected areas
  • Promoting integrated strategies for waste management and developing innovative technologies to improve resource efficiency
  • Supporting actions to mitigate and adapt to the climate changes depending on the territorial context-tailor-made responses for all types of landscapes and natural resources covering the whole programme area such as river and marine water quality management, soil consumption and coastal erosion, forest and coastal areas management, and natural risks prevention
  • Developing common approaches for raising awareness and capacity building on the circular economy, also capitalizing on best practices on waste management and recycling
  • Developing e-mobility strategies and innovative mobility systems for better accessibility of public services for the population, also to support tourism

PO 4

A more social and inclusive Europe implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights

 

Challenges

  • Negative population trends&ageing population 
  • Increased percentage of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion
  • Local disparities in access to health services
  • Presence of cultural and linguistic minorities and identities
  • Bilingual educational offer still not supported enough in the area
  • Weak link between high-level education and labor market and the increasing number of NEETs
  • Rich and diversified cultural resources including UNESCO sites and intangible heritage
  • Relevance of cultural industry as an economic asset
  • Interesting prospects of tourism in view of GO 2025 Nova Gorica · Gorica and tailored made local initiatives
  • Serious impact of the pandemic on touristic enterprise and employment
  • Touristic demand increasingly oriented toward an integrated and sustainable offer

 

Desired Change

  • Providing more territorial services pursuing accessibility and a cross-border approach
  • Providing bilingual services in order to increase the accessibility of healthcare services and labour market
  • Investing in education and training to meet the current needs of the cross-border labour market

Ø Enhance coordination between enterprise and the tertiary education systems to meet labor market current needs

  • Creating favourable conditions to tackle specific barriers to cross-border employability, such as recognition of skills, addressing ageing population needs growth through investments in training and supporting SMEs competitiveness

Ø Promoting labor market initiatives to ensure sufficient and qualified staff in the sector

  • Promoting the cultural and linguistic minorities
  • Introducing digitization to improve accessibility to the natural and cultural heritage for a wider public
  • Promotion of cultural heritage through support to creative industries and sustainable/ accessible tourism
  • Creating synergies with the GO 2025 Nova Gorica · Gorica to increase tourist attractiveness
  • Promoting and financing initiatives to support sustainable tourism and cultural assets for overcoming the pandemic crisis impact

INTERREG Specific objective “a better cooperation governance”

Challenges

  • Strong experience of local and regional actors in territorial cooperation approaches
  • Civil society not sufficiently involved in governance and cooperation
  • Need for a better governance of some strategic cross-border issues: sustainable and maritime transport, waste and water management
  • Overcoming legal and administrative obstacles as well as the language barrier
  • Presence of the two national minorities and other cultural and linguistic minorities and identities requiring more homogeneous protection measures

Desired Change

  • Fostering administrative simplification in the whole cycle of policymaking and project implementation
  • Focusing on the needs of the population through improved participation and involvement of local actors (NGOs, third sector, environmental, cultural, and social associations, actors able to promote and develop public-private partnerships, etc.)
  • Embedding Macro-regional strategies

 

Priority axes and specific objectives (ref. Section 2 of the Programme)

According to EU regulations, it is required to allocate to PO2 and PO4 and a maximum of two other Strategic Objectives at least 60 percent of resources

In order to respond to the needs and challenges of the Programme area, the Programme mission is: “Enhanced cross-border cooperation for improving the quality of life of the population, preserving and promoting cultural and natural heritage and enhancing the climate neutrality of the Programme area through sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth”.

The Programme selected, according to the concentration pprinciple of Regulations, the following Policy and Specific Objectives:

Selected policy objective or selected Interreg-specific objective

Selected specific objective

 

PO1 - A more competitive and smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation and regional ICT connectivity

SO 1 - Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies

PO2 - A greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility

SO 4 - Promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention, resilience, taking into account eco-system based approaches

PO2 - A greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility

SO 6 - Promoting the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy

PO2 - A greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility

SO 7 - Enhancing protection and preservation of nature, biodiversity, and green infrastructure, including in urban areas, and reducing all forms of pollution

PO4 - A more social and inclusive Europe implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights

SO 6 - enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation

ISO 1 – A better cooperation governance

ISO 1.(b) - enhance efficient public administration by promoting legal and administrative cooperation and cooperation between citizens, civil society actors and institutions, in particular, with a view to resolving legal and other obstacles in border regions

ISO 1 – A better cooperation governance

ISO 1.(c) - build up mutual trust, in particular by encouraging people-to-people actions

 

 

Financial allocation (ref.. section 3 of the IP)

Programme financial plan amounts at total € 88.623.329,00= of which € 70.898.662,00= ERDF and € 17.724.667,00= national cofinancing.

Find below the breackdown per Policy Objectives with indication of project typologies.

PO

SO

ERDF allocation

%

Project typology

1

SO 1 - Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies

6.889.799,00 €

9,72%

STANDARD

capitalisation

2

SO 4 - Promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention, resilience, taking into account eco-system based approaches

26.544.852,00 €

37,44%

STANDARD

capitalisation

SO 6 - Promoting the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy

STANDARD

capitalisation

SO 7 - Enhancing protection and preservation of nature, biodiversity, and green infrastructure, including in urban areas, and reducing all forms of pollution

STANDARD

capitalisation STRATEGIC (POSEIDONE)

4

SO 6 - enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation

31.942.977,00 €

45,05%

STANDARD

capitalisation

SPF

STRATEGIC (ADRIONCYCLETOUR and Geopark Classical Karst)

ISO1

ISO 1.(b) - enhance efficient public administration by promoting legal and administrative cooperation and cooperation between citizens, civil society actors and institutions, in particular, with a view to resolving legal and other obstacles in border regions

5.521.034,00 €

7,79%

STANDARD

capitalisation

ISO 1.(c) - build up mutual trust, in particular by encouraging people-to-people actions

PEOPLE TO PEOPLE

Tot.

 

70.898.662,00 €

100,00%

 

From the total financial allocation of the Programme, as shown in the table, an overall percentage of 7% will be deducted to be charged for Technical Assistance which, unlike previous programmes, does not have a dedicated budget or axis. Therefore, the ERDF budget available for the projects actually amounts to a total of € 66,260,431.00 =.

As for the ERDF co-financing rate for projects in the case of non-relevance for State Aid, it amounts to 80%, therefore lower than in the 2014-2020 programme.

With regard to Slovenian project partners, each beneficiary will have to provide with its own resources for the remaining 20%, as in the 2014-2020 programming.

For all Italian partners - public, public equivalent and private partners - the national co-financing will be charged to the national budget through the Rotation Fund for development and cohesion, excluding State Aid.

 

Partnership involvement (ref. Section 4 of the Programme)

The principle of partnership has been duly taken into consideration by the Programme as fundamental in the European decision-making process (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 240/2014).

I In order to support an even broader active involvement of the relevant partners in the programming phase, a public consultation procedure for stakeholders and potential beneficiaries was carried out to facilitate the establishment of the strategic orientations for the Interreg 2021-2027 Programme, thus supporting the Task Force with the definition of the actions to be implemented by the Programme. The public consultation procedure has been developed in different steps: the first step of stakeholders’ consultation allowed to collect data from the territory about the thematic focus of the Programme, which have been further processed, analyzed and elaborated in the framework of the negotiations on Programme content by the Task Force in early 2021.

Moreover, in the first months of 2021, a series of interviews with institutional representatives of Programme partners was carried out as a further element for the Task Force’s brainstorming on Programme Strategic Orientations and the outcomes were included in the Territorial Socio-economic Analysis of the Programme area. In the meantime, some requirements necessary for the Programme’s development such as thematic concentration have been confirmed in the Regulations published by the European Commission.

The second step of stakeholders’ consultation process, aimed at collecting inputs on the actions to be implemented through the Programme, was performed through an online survey and allowed to gather 373 replies. Two workshops (in Slovene and Italian languages) were organized prior to launching the online survey to present it to stakeholders and to clarify its objectives. Among those 373 stakeholders participating in the online survey, 192 were from Italy and 181 from Slovenia, higher education and research organization being the most represented group. All the 10 NUTs3 regions were represented. There were also some respondents from other NUTs 3 regions outside of the Programme area.

The public consultation process has been a great opportunity to share challenges and needs with stakeholders, collect proposals and desired changes, suggestions and recommendations to be considered by the Programme. The outcomes of stakeholders’ consultations represented a reliable and shared basis to develop an analysis of the Programme area as well as the other fundamental chapters of the Programme.

The partnership approach adopted during the programming phase will be maintained also during the Programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases. The partnership principle will be enabled not only through the membership in the Monitoring Committee, but also involving partners and stakeholders in dialogue and strategic interaction throughout the life cycle of the Programme.

The implementation of 2021-2027 Italy-Slovenia Interreg Programme will encourage ongoing involvement of relevant partners in order to reinforce transparency of the implementation and strengthen the programme ownership among the partners.

 

Communication approach (ref. Section 5 of the Programme)

The approach of the Interreg Italy-Slovenia Programme communication and visibility strategy aims at disseminating the Programme’s contents, ongoing activities and results granting the visibility of the EU co-funding. The general objective of the programme’s communication is to enhance the public awareness of the EU support for projects in the cross-border area through the effective use of communication instruments.

The working language mainly used among the Programme structures is English, although during the Monitoring Committee, translation services will be guaranteed. Italian and Slovene language will be used for the implementation of the projects.

The main objectives of the communication and visibility strategy are:

  • to disseminate the Programme’s contents and priorities;
  • to promote the Programme’s funding opportunities;
  • to promote projects’ achievements and capitalisation activities.
  • to support programme authorities, applicants and beneficiaries in the effective project development and implementation by ensuring well-functioning internal communication between the programme structures to make the programme function effectively, providing applicants and beneficiaries high-quality and timely support in all phases of the project implementation

The target audiences of Programme and projects’ communication and dissemination activities can be subdivided in different target groups:

  • applicants and beneficiaries (project partners);
  • programme authorities;
  • professionals and technical experts;
  • general public (youth, families);
  • schools and teachers or professors;
  • NGOs;
  • media.

The Programme will strive at granting an active role in the communication activities of the Programme. This will be implemented via:

  • the creation of the website hosting the project webpages;
  • providing a ready-made logo, in line with the coordinated image of the Programme;
  • providing guidelines for the visual identity;
  • providing guidelines for coordinated social media campaigns;
  • organizing targeted communication workshops for the applicants and beneficiaries.

Stemming from the experience of the 2014-20 programming period, the communication needs to be focused on a more active involvement of youth and students, this is one of the reasons for a more intense use of social media in the 2021-27 programming period. Another focus of the communication and visibility actions should be schools and professors: there is a need for greater involvement in the calls for institutions related to education and training, for example as associated partners.

The target groups will be involved via:

  • direct involvement in project activities (beneficiaries, applicants, associated partners)
  • specific campaigns diversified per age group;
  • dissemination of project outputs: use of project results (citizens, technical staff, students, teachers etc.)

Communication channels:

  • website including the beneficiaries' webpages;
  • social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter;
  • communication campaigns (claim, materials and gadgets, logo);
  • dissemination events for the general public;
  • public events (annual events, workshops for applicants/beneficiaries/programme structures/professionals);
  • online events (for the general public and for professionals);
  • direct meetings;
  • online campaigns including the production of visual elements (e.g., storytelling, videomaking, infographics);
  • Keep.eu portal.

 

Small projects and Small Project Fund (Section 6 of the Programme)

Projects of limited financial volume, or ‘small-scale projects’, are foreseen for the Italy-Slovenia Interreg 2021-2027 Programme as a tool that contributes to Programme objectives’ achievement and helps overcoming cross-border obstacles to cooperation by building trust between citizens and institutions, raising awareness, promoting mutual understanding and networking. 

The Programme is planning to implement them both by supporting projects of limited financial volume directly (Art. 24 (1.a) of the Interreg Regulation) and by using bottom-up approach within Small Project Fund (Art. 24 (1.b) and Art. 25 of the Interreg Regulation).

The European Capital of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica · Gorizia aims at creating and implementing a programme of events highlighting the richness of culture, shared heritage and history and bringing benefits to local communities. The Interreg Italy-Slovenia 2021-2027 Programme will support the ECoC 2025 through the Small Project Fund. The EGTC GO will manage the implementation of the fund as a sole beneficiary via open calls and simplified application procedures. Within the Small Project Fund, a bottom-up approach for selecting the new project proposals will be carried out in order to finance projects that will contribute to the achievement of the Programme goals and will fit the Specific Objective 4.6: “Enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation”. An annual call for projects is foreseen starting from 2022. 2 types of projects are expected:

  • short projects with a maximum duration of twelve months and the budget within 30.000€ and 100.000€. These projects will be implemented mostly in year 2025.
  • long projects that exceed the twelve months duration, but end within 24 months. The allocation up to 200.000€.

The Small Project Fund will apply simplified cost options as defined by the Art. 25 (6) of the Interreg regulation for the projects that do not exceed EUR 100 000. The EGTC GO will also support the use of simplified cost options for projects with greater budget. The SCOs will be determined and selected at the Programme level.

In addition to the Small Project Fund dedicated to ECoC 2025 initiatives on Specific Objective 4.6, the Programme will also support people-to-people cross-border initiatives implemented in the form of small-scale projects within Interreg specific objective 1. (c): “build up mutual trust, in particular by encouraging people-to-people actions”. The actions to be supported will be aiming at strengthening cross-border cooperation by networking and exchanging experiences in the fields of common interest, building trust and strengthening common identity by overcoming language, cultural and geographical obstacles.  People-to-people projects in the range of 30.000-100.000€ ERDF are expected and will be developed in 12 months. Relative call for projects can be launched in 2024.

 

 

Management structures (ref. Section 7 of the Programme)

 

 

Authority/body

Name of the institution

Contact name

email

Managing Authority

 

Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia

Central Directorate for Finance

Accounting Unit

Laura Comelli

[email protected]

National authority (for programmes with participating third or partner countries, if appropriate)

N/A

N/A

N/A

Audit Authority

 

Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia

Presidency of the Region

Directorate General

Audit Office

Gianluca Dominutti

[email protected]

Group of auditors representatives

Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia / Presidency of the Region / Directorate General/Audit Office

Republic of Slovenia – Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia, Budget Supervision Office of the RS

Gianluca Dominutti

 

Dušan Sterle

Director

[email protected]

 

 

[email protected]

Body to which the payments are to be made by the Commission

Ministry of Economy and Finance – Inspectorate General for Financial Relations with the European Union (IGRUE)

Paolo Zambuto

 

[email protected]

 

 

Strategic operations (ref. Appendix 3 to the Programme)

The Programme intends to implement the following 3 operations of strategic importance:

1) Strategic project ADRIONCYCLETOUR contributes to define the cycling route running along the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Italy (Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions) and in Slovenia (coastal network), including its main cycle connections to the hinterland areas (inland network), and supports the development, at EUSAIR level, of an innovative and attractive cross-border/transnational tourism product on the ADRIATIC-IONIAN Cycle Route.

  • Lead Partner: Central Directorate for Infrastructure and Territory - Transport, Digital and Sustainable Mobility Infrastructure Service of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region
  • Timetable: from June 1st, 2022; duration: 36 months.
  • Budget: ERDF 3.500.000 Euro.

2) Strategic project POSEIDONE fosters the sustainable development of the territory on a cross-border scale, promoting the enhancement of the natural environment, the protection of biodiversity, the implementation of green and blue infrastructures and indirectly contributing to the development of sustainable and slow tourism, also capitalising the results of previous Interreg projects.

  • Lead Partner: VeGAL
  • Timetable: from January 1st, 2023; duration: 36 months.
  • Budget: ERDF 3.500.000 Euro.

3) Strategic project for joint management and sustainable development of the Classical Karst Area contributes to the sustainable development of the cross-border functional area of the Classical Karst, promoting sustainable and slow tourism in full compliance with the environmental and historical assets of the area, capitalising the results of previous Interreg projects.

  • Lead Partner: Karst and Brkini Regional Development Agency
  • Timetable: from January 1st, 2023; duration: 36 months.
  • Budget: ERDF 3.500.000 Euro.

 

Written procedures