Funding period for INTERREG IIIA was 2000-2006, it was an EU Community Initiative designed to support cross border co-operation, social cohesion and economic development between regions of the EU.

Key facts

  • €183m Total Value
  • 420 Number of projects


The EU cross-border INTERREG Programme was first introduced in 1991 and was devised as the European Community’s response to the implications of the single market. It recognised the relatively disadvantaged situation of Border Regions throughout the European Community and proposed a mechanism of support for such areas. The eligible area for the INTERREG IIIA Programme was Northern Ireland and the six border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo.

Overall aim

The overall aim of the INTERREG IIIA Programme was to

‘address the economic and social disadvantage which can result from the existence of a border, by promoting the creation of programme networks involving, and also benefiting, local communities’.

The programme focused on three main priorities that included:

  1. Integrated local development strategies:

    Enhancing the capacity at local level for the development and implementation of local development strategies that would focus on promoting economic and social cohesion.
  2. Supporting physical infrastructure and the environment:

    Improving the physical environment and spatial cohesion of the eligible area.
  3. Civic and community networking:

    Promoting actions which improve the quality of life of the population of the eligible area and which are inclusive and participative in nature and operation.

Programme management and delivery

In contrast to the INTERREG I and II Programmes, INTERREG III promoted a greater partnership or ‘bottom-up’ approach to development. Therefore, as well as including government departments, the involvement of regional and local authorities and other relevant economic and social partners were encouraged during all phases of the Programme. 

The Managing Authority for the INTERREG IIIA Programme was the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) which was one of six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

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