What is NEXT? It’s both a title, and the name of a new generation of programmes. It’s the title of the Annual Conference of the ENI CBC community, which will take place in Brussels next week. And it’s the name chosen for the third cycle of programmes at the external EU borders in the period 2021-2027: the “Interreg NEXT (Neighbourhood External) programming”.
Around 200 people – both from EU Member States and Partner Countries – are expected to convene at the Square Brussels Convention Centre for the conference organised by the European Commission on 28-29 January with TESIM support. Beside the official welcoming of the ENI CBC community into the Interreg family, the agenda is focusing on the post-2020 CBC strategic programming, in the framework of the European Neighbourhood and the Cohesion policy.
During the event the European Commission will present its draft Joint paper to provide strategic orientations on the future programmes, including policy objectives, themes and possible scenarios for geography. In the framework of five geographical clusters, the representatives of programmes and participating countries will be invited to share their observations on key aspects, like the policy context, the proposed scenarios and the lessons learnt from previous CBC programmes. The overall aim is to build the ground for a solid programming process
Two additional workshops will tackle the need to prepare for a timely programming process, considering the foreseen changes into the intervention logic. The first workshop will deal with the drafting of a future Interreg NEXT programme by using two reading grids: the territorial thinking that should drive the design and implementation of new strategies – by answering the question: “Why do we need these specific measures in this area?” – and the partnership principle, requiring a full involvement of the programme partners and territorial stakeholders.
The second will address the purpose of setting up a performance framework, meaning the new set of outputs, results, indicators that should guide the functioning of the programmes.
As always, the Conference is expected to offer the opportunity to discuss and exchange views among participants, but also to raise awareness of the need to already start the programming process, focusing on coordination with other EU instruments.
What’s next? A third cycle of cooperation among peers, aiming at establishing an area of prosperity across external EU borders.