Regional Policy

Norway and the Regions of Europe

Norway is part of the Regions of Europe. Norway is also a partner country in the Northern Dimension Action Plan.

The regional policy for the European Union for the period 2000-2006 was adopted at the Berlin summit on 25 and 26 March 1999. The total financial framework for the seven-year period is 213 billion Euro, including the cohesion fund (18 billion Euro). This allocation does not include pre-accession support to the accession countries or regional/structural support to new member states. The main elements in the new regional policy are:

  • Objective 1: Promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind (regions whose per capita GDP is less than 75 per cent of the Community average, the most remote regions like the Canary Islands, Madeira, the Azores, the French overseas departments and the old objective 6 regions in Finland and Sweden). 69.7 per cent of the structural funds is allocated to this objective.
  • Objective 2: Support the economic and social conversions of areas facing structural difficulties. This includes regions undergoing changes in the industrial and service sectors, declining rural areas, urban areas in difficulty and depressed areas that are dependent on fisheries. 11.5 per cent of the structural funds is allocated to objective 2.
  • Objective 3: Support to the adaptation and modernisation of policies and systems of education, training and employment outside the objective 1 areas. 12.3 per cent of the structural funds is allocated to objective 3.
  • Community initiatives: The community initiatives are designed to offer added value to the mainstream objectives. There will be four community initiatives in the next period – Interreg, Urban, Leader and Equal. 5.4 per cent of the structural funds is allocated to community initiatives. 50 per cent of the allocation to community initiatives is reserved for Interreg.
  • Pilot actions: Less than 1 per cent of the structural funds is allocated for innovative actions and technical assistance.

  • The European Commission on Regional Policy

Interreg III
Interreg III is a Community initiative that aims to stimulate interregional co-operation in the EU in the period 2000-2006. It is financed under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This new phase of the Interreg initiative is designed to strengthen economic and social cohesion throughout the EU by fostering the balanced development of the continent through cross-border, transnational and interregional co-operation. Special emphasis has been placed on integrating remote regions and those that share external borders with the candidate countries.

The importance of Interreg in the EU’s regional policy has increased and the allocation for the period 2000-2006 is significantly higher than in the previous period, i.e. 4.875 billion Euro in the period 2000-2006 compared with 3.562 billion Euro in the period 1994-1999.

Useful link regarding Norwegian participation in Intererg

The Interreg initiative consists of three strands:

Strand A: Cross-border co-operation
The aim of cross-border co-operation between neighbouring authorities is to develop cross-border economic and social centres through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development. Between 50 and 80 per cent of the national allocation to Interreg should be set aside for strand A.

Norway is participating in the following strand-A programmes:

InterregKolarctic: Nordland, Troms and Finnmark counties
Interreg Kvarken – Mitt Skandia: Nordland county
An Interreg programme between counties in the southern parts of Norway and Sweden. In Norway the counties Trøndelag, Sør Trøndelag, Hedmark and Østfold.

Links to Interreg IIIA programmes:

Strand B: Transnational co-operation
Transnational co-operation between national, regional and local authorities aims to promote a higher degree of territorial integration across large groups of European regions, with a view to achieving sustainable, harmonious and balanced development in the European Union and better territorial integration with candidate and other neighbouring countries.

Norway is also participating in three strand B-programmes – The Baltic Sea programme (which includes the Barents region), The North Sea programme and Northern Periphery.


Strand C: Interregional co-operation
The aim of interregional co-operation is to improve the effectiveness of policies and instruments for regional development and cohesion through networking, particularly for regions whose development is lagging behind and those undergoing conversion. Six per cent of the Interreg budget is allocated to strand C.


  • European Regional Development Fund, Interreg IIIC

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