Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic 2021-2027
For 20 years, the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme has provided a framework for regions to work together with a focus on promoting sustainable development in remote and sparsely populated communities.
The next programme will continue to do this, focusing on those themes and types of activities that are deemed to benefit most from transnational cooperation between the regions in the NPA area.
Pending final approval by the Commission, the most up-to-date information about the Interreg NPA 2021-2027 programme can be found on this page.
A new Programme Area
In the EU Member States, the Programme area covers Northern and Eastern Finland, Northern and Western Regions of Ireland, and Northern Sweden. Outside the EU, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, and Northern parts of Norway belong to the Programme area.
|Programme Partner Country||NUTS code||Eligible Region|
|EU Member States|
|Ireland||IE04||Northern and Western|
|IE05||Southern (only NUTS 3 regions IE051 Mid-West and IE053 South-West)|
|Non Member States|
|NO0B||Svalbard and Jan Mayen|
The programme area has seen gains and losses. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the Norwegian region of Vestlandet (including Rogaland) are no longer part of the programme area. On the other hand, the programme now includes the Irish counties of Roscommon, Cavan, Monaghan, and Tipperary.
Priorities and specific objectives
The NPA programme area is vast and participating territories are separated by long distances. Yet, similarities and linkages between the participating territories as well as common characteristics and shared development concerns in the NPA regions offer a strong basis for cooperation.
A more detailed description of the territorial features in the NPA can be found in the Area Analysis. The Interreg NPA 2021-2027 will also seek a wider and more active engagement of young people in both the projects and the programme.
Through transnational cooperation, the Interreg NPA Programme addresses the challenges and opportunities in the programme area through 3 Priorities.
For a more detailed description of each priority, its underlying specific objectives, and actions supported, please see here.
|Priority Axis||Specific Objective|
|1 Strengthening the innovation capacity for resilient and attractive NPA communities||1.1 Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies|
|1.2. Reaping the benefits of digitisation for citizens, companies, research organisations and public authorities|
|1.3. Enhancing sustainable growth & competitiveness of SMEs and job creation in SMEs, including by productive investment|
|2 Strengthening the capacity for climate change adaptation, and resource sufficiency in NPA communities||2.1. Promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions|
|2.2. Promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention, resilience, taking into account ecosystem based approaches|
|2.3. Promoting the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy|
|3 Strengthening the organisational capacity among NPA communities to make use of cooperation opportunities||3.1. Enhance institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders to implement macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies, as well as other territorial strategies.|
The funding priorities and specific objectives of the NPA 2014-2020 and NPA 2021-2027 overlap in many aspects: innovation, SMEs, climate change adaptation, and sustainable resource management are still core areas of intervention. Not least because cooperation in these areas has proven to be an effective tool to deliver meaningful results.
Within these areas of intervention, the Interreg NPA 2021-2027, compared to the previous period, further promotes solutions based on digitisation and disruptive technologies. Support for SMEs will focus more on sustainability than in the past. In addition, promoting the transition to a circular and resource efficiency economy has also become a more prominent objective.
While at first sight the NPA 2014-2020 priority focusing on protecting natural and cultural heritage seems to have been left behind, in the new programme these topics are addressed across all priorities.
With the addition of a new priority focusing on strengthening the organisational capacity to make use of cooperation opportunities, the NPA will be able to support projects that reinforce links and collaborations across communities, e.g. based on local knowledge and unique circumstances in the NPA areas, and bring the cooperation experience to a wider group of stakeholders.
The final budget of the Interreg NPA Programme has not been approved yet. The anticipated Programme budget for project implementation is approximately 47M €.
The funding available for projects has been distributed as follows:
- Priority 1 Innovation capacity: 45%
- Priority 2 Climate change and resource sufficiency: 45%
- Priority 3 Cooperation opportunities: 10%
The Programme is financed through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ERDF equivalent funding from the Non-EU partner countries, supplemented by match funding from projects.
Projects apply to the Programme for ERDF or ERDF equivalent co-financing and contribute to the project with public or private match funding.
The total budget available to the programme has decreased between the two periods, mostly due to the smaller geographical area of cooperation.
In general, all partners regardless of whether they are located in an EU Member State or not may apply for a grant rate of up to 65%, except for partners from Norway who may apply for a grant rate of up to 50%.
Partners from outside the programme area are eligible for receiving ERDF grant up to 65%, if the necessary national agreements are in place.
Icelandic partners are now eligible to a higher grant rate, which increased from 60% in the NPA 2014-2020 to 65% in the NPA 2021-2027.
How to Apply
Partnerships will be able to submit project applications twice a year at regular intervals according to a call for proposals calendar to be published on the programme website.
Applications will be assessed against a set of criteria defining the projects fit with the programme priorities and objectives, and a set of quality criteria. The Monitoring Committee will decide on the projects to be granted funding based on the assessment results.
The First Call for main projects is planned to open on 17th March 2022 and close on 20th June 2022. The Monitoring Committee will decide on projects approval in September 2022, pending formal approval of the programme.
The Interreg NPA 2021-2027 will support different types of projects: main, preparatory, clustering and small-scale projects. Specific call calendars, partnership and budget criteria are being discussed for each project type and will be published on the programme website and Manual in due course.
The application process remains unchanged from the previous to the current period: projects will be granted support after submission of a project application to be assessed against a set of criteria.
The types of projects to be supported in the next 7 years are already familiar to the beneficiaries of the 2014-2020. The only difference from the past is that there will be a more extensive use of preparatory-type projects, now referred to in general as small-scale projects. In addition, such small projects will be funded through lump sums amount, instead of real costs, thereby reducing the administrative burden on the partners.
An important change introduced with the Interreg NPA 2021-2027 is that Lead Partner organisations can come from all programme partner countries, also including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, contrary to the past.
Another small but appreciable innovation is the introduction of a fixed calendar of calls for proposals, which will allow organisations and partnerships to be better prepared by the submission deadline.
In order to ease access and increase participation in Interreg projects, the NPA 2021-2027 programme adopted several simplification measures.
Below is a short summary of the main simplifications. Additional information will become available in the Programme Manual and Guidance materials.
- Larger preparatory projects with longer runtimes: this type of projects has proven to be extremely valuable for the development of successful main projects in the 2014-2020 period. For this reason, preparatory projects in the 2021-2027 period are likely to have a bigger budget and run for more than 6 months.
- Capacity building preparatory projects (Priority 3): preparatory projects financed under this priority will be a tool for building up capacity and experience for representatives of specific underrepresented group in relation to the NPA programme.
- Better conditions for including SMEs: private organisations will continue to be eligible project partners (not Lead Partners) and will receive the same grant rate as other public partners. Previously SMEs could receive up to 50% co-funding. This can be up to 65% in the 2021-2027 programme, except for Norwegian based SMEs. State aid assessments will still need to be performed, but these will be built in the online application process.
- Simplified selection procedure: projects can expect a quicker contracting and start-up after a funding decision has been made by the Monitoring Committee, thanks to a more streamlined selection procedure among programme bodies.
- More Interreg specific indicators: indicators will continue to be used to capture the achievements of the NPA 2021-2027 projects. However, in this period they provide a better match with what Interreg projects are able to deliver. More detailed information is available in the Cooperation Programme document.
- More user-friendly electronic monitoring system: you can forget eMS and say hello to Jems! The new monitoring system will be easier to work with and overcomes some of the limitations of eMS.
- Simplified costs options: these are solutions aimed at reducing the administrative burden on partners when reporting their project costs. The Interreg NPA 2021-2027 will make wider use of lump sum grants in the case of projects with a maximum total budget of 200.000 euro. For projects with larger budgets, it will be possible to use flat rates, not only for administrative costs, but also for travel costs, and costs other than staff.