Prepare now for Interreg NWE projects

The North West Europe (NWE) Task Force has agreed on the draft Interreg NWE 2021-2027 programme. It is expected that the first call will be launched around March 2022. So get your project ideas ready now!! 

Are you looking to pilot or scale up local development concepts, or seeking to roll out portions of a regional or national development plan or strategy? If so, you may want to look into the draft Interreg NWE Programme 2021-2027.

The current draft (27 October 2021 version) includes five priorities and nine specific objectives for the future NWE Programme to focus on. The type of projects that will be eligible for funding could be the design and implementation of joint strategies or action plans, pilot actions for testing tools or solutions, or capacity-building and awareness raising.

The priority areas in the current draft and some of the potential applications in the Irish context are:

  • Climate – improving water management approaches, reducing air pollution, improving preparedness to adverse weather phenomena, embedding blue and green corridors, biodiversity and natural capital concepts
  • Energy – promoting production and use of renewable energy, promoting innovative technologies, solutions, products and services, supporting factors that will increase competitiveness and combat climate change
  • Circular Economy – increasing the capacity of waste collection and recycling, processes and product innovation, new business models that encourage the sharing and use of or access to a commodity over the ownership of goods
  • Innovation – supporting innovative actors, encouraging solutions for local/regional authorities in digital transformations, facilitating smart transformation, contributing to balanced economic development and territorial resilience, Smart villages and cities
  • Inclusion – projects on place-based health and care access, challenges associated with population growth/depopulation, quality employment, sustainable tourism and culture, making natural and cultural heritage better preserved and accessible, business support programmes.

What is Interreg NWE Programme

Interreg NWE programme areaThe Interreg North West Europe is one of the project funding programmes of the European Union for European Territorial Cooperation. It supports cooperation across borders to jointly solve common issues and falls under the “transnational” strands (Interreg B). Interreg NWE fosters transnational cooperation to make the region a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. The area covered by the programme is considered as one of the most dynamic and prosperous areas of Europe, and it also faces a number of environmental, social and economic needs and challenges.

Eligibility to apply

The Interreg North West Europe programme 2021-2027 will be open for funding to local, regional, or national authorities, EGTCs, government agencies, and public equivalent organisations with relevant responsibilities.

As this is a cross-border cooperation programme, projects must include a consortium consisting of partners from at least three different countries in the North West Europe programme area (Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and parts of France and Germany).

Co-funding by partners will be required. At this time, it is expected that the co-funding rate will be the same as the 2014-2020 programme (40% co-funding by partner).

Next steps in finalising programme

The Interreg NWE Task Force hopes to submit the final Interreg Programme to the European Commission for approval in January 2022, following formal agreement with the Member States involved in the NWE Programme. The European Commission will then assess the programme and is expected to formally approve the Interreg NWE Programme (2021-2027) by Summer 2022.

First Call

As mentioned above, the first call for proposals is expected to be launched in Spring 2022. But it is advised to begin building your consortium as soon as possible to ensure the proposal is well written!

An online community forum to help find international partners is planned to be launched in 2022.

More Information

Please consult the Interreg NWE programme website and the latest draft of the programme for more information.

You can also contact Ireland’s National Contact Point for Interreg NWE: Sarah Davoren

Sign up to Interreg NWE mailing list here for the latest information from the National Contact Point.

The Wheel’s ‘Access Europe Showcase’ event

The Wheel is hosting an exciting event next week called ‘Access Europe Showcase’. The online event will take place on Monday,  to 

The occasion will celebrate The Wheel’s first year of their European funding support programme for Irish civil society organisations called Access Europe.  The event will explore EU project results and success stories as well as launch the new website, EU funding guide and partnership database.

This platform will connect Irish civil society organisations with organisations from across Europe for partnership in EU funded projects. Organisations will be able to create a profile on the database that The Wheel will promote around Europe to increase exposure and linkages to potential projects.

Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne TD will join the event!

About The Wheel

The Wheel is Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. This organisation represents, supports and connects nonprofit organisations in Ireland. It works to strengthen its member’s capacity and capabilities.

The organisation’s core work programmes focus on: public policy and advocacy, networking, training and development, and information services.

Find out more about their work on their website:

More info and registration

It is free to attend this online event. Registration is required.

Date & time:  to 

For more information and to register, visit this page:

Communicating Europe – Last Stop in SRA



How does the EU deliver for local communities in Ireland? How can the local communities engage with the EU?

The Irish Regions European Office is joining with the Southern Regional Assembly to bring their final stop in their three-part virtual tour to the Southern Region on 26th November. The webinar will present how EU Cohesion Policy funding can benefit local government and communities, focusing on funding benefits from the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes, and how local communities can engage with the EU.

The event will include presentation and lively discussions from MEPs, Committee of the Regions members, EU projects and the European Movement Ireland about how EU funding delivers on the ground, the real benefits of EU funding with a focus on local government, and how to ensure that the public view is taken on board through the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The webinar will take place on Friday 26th November from 9.30am (Irish time). To register, click here!

The three-part event series is funded by the Communicating Europe Initiative, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and aims to deepen public awareness of the role the EU plays in our daily lives and at improving the quality and accessibility of public information on European issues, particularly at regional or national level. The first two stops in the virtual tour took the event to the Northern & Western region and the Eastern & Midland region.

Communicating Europe Initiative in EMRA

On 8th October, IREO and NWRA hosted the first part of our Communicating Europe initiatives – Duologue for Strength and Resilience.

During the seminar, we heard from local councillors, County Councils, as well as MEPs, their take on how EU Cohesion Policy funding can benefit local communities. Moderated by Karen Coleman, Donegal and Mayo County Councils gave us insights into their involvement in ETC (European Territorial Cooperation) Programmes and how EU funds helped develop their communities.

Next up as part of our virtual tour of the country we are partnering with the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly (EMRA) to bring you more insight into the influence of EU funds on the ground. Join us on 5th November to hear from a host of local councillors and MEPs about how citizens can engage with the EU. Again, we’ll be joined by the European Movement Ireland who will provide us with more tips and tricks of involvement in the Conference on the Future of Europe as well as the Wheel who will talk about the opportunities for local government to work with civic society.

This seminar is funded by the Communicating Europe Initiative, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, aimed at deepening public awareness of the role the EU plays in our daily lives and at improving the quality and accessibility of public information on European issues, particularly at regional or national level.

Registrations are open and accessible here and more details will follow. We look forward to engaging with you in a fruitful discussion!

A Duologue for Strength and Resilience – Communicating Europe Initiative

How does the EU deliver for local communities in Ireland? How can the local communities engage with the EU?

The Irish Regions European Office and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly are coming together to present how EU Cohesion Policy funding (European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes) can benefit local communities and on the other hand, how local communities can participate in a duologue with the EU. There will be an opportunity to hear from the European Movement Ireland on tools for citizens’ engagement in the Conference on the Future of Europe.

This seminar is funded by the Communicating Europe Initiative, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, aimed at deepening public awareness of the role the EU plays in our daily lives and at improving the quality and accessibility of public information on European issues, particularly at regional or national level. This event will also be held for the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly (EMRA) and the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA). 

Join us on 8th October from 9:30AM (Irish time) to hear about how the EU delivers for local communities and how citizen engagement influences EU policy-making. We will hear from Irish MEPs and Committee of the Regions Members about how EU funding delivers on the ground, and how to ensure that the public view is taken on board when it comes to the Future of Europe.

To register for this event, click here!


LIFE programme info sessions

The EU LIFE programme info sessions are ongoing! Learn more about the LIFE programme, get your questions answered by European Commission experts and find potential partners. Registrations are now open under the following link

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Created in 1992, it has co-financed thousands of projects. The new LIFE programme 2021-2027 has a budget of €5.4 billion and is divided into four sub-programmes:

  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Circular economy and quality of life
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Clean energy transition 

More detailed information on the LIFE programme is available on the LIFE Website.

The LIFE Call for Proposals 2021 was published on 13 July 2021. Recorded presentations by CINEA experts for each topic of the call will provide you with deeper insights.

Potential applicants interested to learn more about the funding support from the LIFE programme can also take part in live virtual Questions & Answers sessions with CINEA experts on 8-9 September.

Networking opportunities in the format of 1:1 bilateral virtual meetings among potential applicants themselves are also available during the period from 28 July to 30 November 2021.

For further information contact the IREO or email

IREO success in the Communicating Europe Initiative

The three Regional Assemblies and the IREO are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Communicating Europe Initiative (CEI).
The CEI provides funding for projects that communicate European issues, the role of the European Union and Ireland’s place in Europe. The success means that the IREO will now organise a series of seminars across the country to present how engagement with the EU strengthens local communities and explore how local communities can engage with the EU. The events will be entitled: A Duologue for Strength and Resilience – bringing the EU to local communities and local communities to the EU. 

Three events will be organised in each of the Regional Assembly areas during the final months of 2021 with the duologue exploring how the EU helps local communities thrive and grow whilst providing tools for their citizens to engage with the EU from a bottom-up perspective. These events will demonstrate how EU funding programmes and EU policy developments can support that two-way process. Communicating with citizens and local communities and providing them with the tools about how best to engage in EU policy making will be a key feature, particularly in light of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.

The series of seminars across Ireland will highlight on the one hand, how EU Cohesion Policy funding (European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes) can benefit local communities and on the other hand, how local communities can participate in a duologue with the EU. The topics of the events will be aligned to the 2021 – 2027 Cohesion Policy priorities.

The events will include panels of speakers around the above themes including Irish Committee of the Regions Members and MEPs as well as providing examples of how local communities across Ireland have already benefitted from EU policies and programmes. Events will also feature experts on citizen engagement from the European Movement Ireland and they will ensure that local communities are equipped to engage in the EU process.

The events will be aimed at local and regional authorities, both elected members and officials, local enterprise offices, civil society and members of the public. Watch out for more information on the event in your area in the coming months.

Recap of the 145th CoR plenary session

The CoR held its last plenary session before the Summer holidays on 30th June and 1st July. A number of important debates were held on topics including the Conference on the Future of Europe, Better Regulation and promoting European Values.

Most notably, a debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe took place with high-level representatives from the Executive Board of CoFoE Guy Verhofstadt, Manfred Weber and Iratxe Garcia Perez, MEPs. It was highlighted that the Conference must listen to all voices, and that the CoR has an important role to play in the Conference through its members and local and regional leaders from all over the EU.   

During a debate on Better Regulation, Foresight and the European Commissions’ Work Programme for 2022 with Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, the regions, cities and villages asked for a strong role in running EU investment for recovery to ensure that funds reach those most affected by the pandemic. The CoR reiterated its commitment to improve EU legislation by contributing to the Fit for Future (F4F) platform. In a resolution with proposals for the 2022 European Commission Work Programme , CoR members requested that the European Commission ensures that local and regional authorities are involved in the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) in order to effectively address the pandemic’s consequences on the ground. 

Furthermore, the CoR adopted its resolution on a Vision for Europe – Future of Cross Border Cooperation. During adoption, Cllr Kieran McCarthy highlighted that in current times cross-border cooperation defines the essence of the European project and that the EU must invest more in connecting people and territories along land and maritime borders. In the resolution, the CoR commits its support for cross-border cooperation in enhancing territorial cohesion, links, exchanges and collaboration between territories and cities across the EU and presents its vision for cross-border cooperation which is split into a number of priority areas.  

Further to the above, lively and animated debates on the following topics took place:

  • Debate on Promoting the European Values through Culture and Education with Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission for Promoting our European Way of Life 
  • Debate on the European Democracy Action Plan with  Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency 

With this plenary session the CoR wrapped up business for the Summer months and Members will reconvene for the next plenary in October 2021, which will take place during the European Week of Regions and Cities.

“Science meets Regions” Call for expression of interest

The European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has launched a call for expression of interest for the “Science meets Regions” preparatory action. The call focuses on territorial development at the subnational level, with regions and cities as the main target audience. Applicants can apply in this call for financial, methodological and/or scientific support from the JRC for projects that will advance evidence-based policymaking at the subnational level.

The call for expressions of interest will concern the following main work packages:

  • Innovation camps and participatory events for single regions and cities, focusing on specific policy topics
  • Networking initiatives for consortia of regions and/or cities on issues of common concern.

The topics covered by the call can be related to any of the six broad priorities of the current European Commission. But the topics of the Green and Digital Transition and Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will have priority in this call.

Science meets Regions

“Science meets regions” is the Joint Research Centre’s project to enhance evidence-based policymaking at the subnational level of governance across Europe. It uses a bottom-up approach, giving cities, regions and territories ownership of the topic and the process, while the JRC provides the financial and methodological support.


The focus of the call is on the subnational level.

For applications involving single regions and cities, only public sector bodies at NUTS2 level or below (including cities and municipalities) are eligible to apply. The main partner must be a public authority, but partnerships with academic and research institutions are encouraged.

For the multiregional strand involving networks of regions and cities, one partner from a public sector body at NUTS2 level will act as a lead partner and will involve at least 3 partners from at least 2 EU Member states.

More details on eligibility requirements can be found in the guide for applicants.

Deadline, Application and Questions:

Expressions of interest can be submitted by 17 September 2021.

To read more and to find the guidelines for applicants and the application forms, go to this page:

Any questions can be sent to: JRC-INFO-SMR@EC.EUROPA.EU

National Recovery and Resilience Plan Submitted

The Irish Government announced its completion of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) on 28 May 2021. Although the full plan is not yet publicly available and is still subject to approval by the European Commission, a summary of the first draft of the NRRP was published on 1st June 2021.  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be publishing additional information on the NRRP in due course.

The NRRP in Ireland was drafted alongside the Economic Recovery Plan and includes projects with a value of up to €1 billion. The NRRP will enable Ireland to access the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which is a central component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the period 2021-2022, Ireland is expected to receive approximately €915 million in grants, with further grants being allocated in 2023.

Public consultation

Ireland was one of a small number of Member States that held a public consultation on the content of their NRRP. There was a short consultation period from 2nd to 22nd February 2021 where local and regional authorities in Ireland were invited and did participate in this consultation.

Read more about the public consultation call in our post from February.

Content of the NRRP for Ireland

The plan is split into a set of 16 investments and 9 reform commitments that are structured around three priority areas.

  • Priority 1: Advancing the Green Transition. Seven investments will be undertaken within this priority area with a total value of €503 million.
  • Priority 2: Accelerating and expanding digital reforms and transformation. This priority area will see six investments undertaken to at total value of €295 million.
  • Priority 3: Social and economic recovery and job creation. A total value of €181 million will be invested into this priority area through three investment programmes.

Projects in the national plan cover the entire lifetime of the EU RRF until 2026. The plan proposes projects in all seven European flagship areas.

Next steps

Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan is currently under review at the EU level. The European Commission has 2 months to assess Ireland’s NRRP and make a recommendation to the Council of the European Union. The Council will then have four weeks to adopt the Commission proposal for a Council Implementing Decision.


The summary of the first draft of the NRRP can be found here: