The Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme is a territorial cooperation programme of the European Commission for the period 2007-2013. This programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It aims to achieve significant and tangible progress in transnational cooperation geared towards cohesive, sustainable and balanced territorial development of the Atlantic Area and its maritime heritage.
Cooperation in the Atlantic Area was a pioneer in the 1989-1993 programming period of the European structural funds. At the time, the ATLANTIS pilot project, although given very modest means, successfully launched the very first transnational cooperation projects financed by the ERDF.
This first experiment inspired the launch of the transnational strand of the INTERREG II initiative (1994-1999). Thirteen INTERREG IIC transnational cooperation programmes were launched, including the new 'Atlantic Area' programme.
During the period 2000-2006, a very significant increase in the budget allocated to transnational cooperation allowed the INTERREG IIIB Atlantic Area programme to make significant progress in terms of the scope and quality of projects, while acquiring remarkable management and cooperation skills.
ERDF Regulation 1080/2006 assigns four key thematic fields of intervention to the transnational strand of the European territorial cooperation objective: innovation, environment, accessibility and sustainable urban development.
To address the challenges in the Atlantic Area, the bodies involved in the Programme through the projects partnerships, should build upon the cooperation while concentrating on the current thematic priorities:
- Promote transnational entrepreneurial and innovation networks
- Protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment sustainability
- Improve accessibility and internal links
Promote transnational synergies in sustainable urban and regional development
The Managing Authority is responsible for the Programme implementation and its overall management ensuring both institutional representation and compliance with applicable Community and national rules namely, eligibility rules, information and publicity, monitoring and assessment procedures.
Joint Technical Secretariat
The Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS), based in Porto, Portugal, in charge of the daily management of the Programme, it assists the Managing Authority and whenever necessary the other Programme bodies on Programme implementation.
The Monitoring Committee is the main decision making body of the Programme.
It is composed by representatives of the five Member States and regions, authorities of the Programme, and representatives of other administrations and organised civil society as advisory members.
It shall satisfy itself as to the effectiveness and quality of the implementation of the Programme.
The Audit Authority is the body that, based on an audit strategy submitted to EC, coordinates and implements the sampling audits, addressed to the Programme management and control system and to the co-financed operations, prepares and presents to EC the annual control reports, and declarations for partial or final closure, assessing the legality and regularity of the expenditure concerned.
The Certifying Authority is the Instituto Financeiro para o Desenvolvimento Regional (IFDR). It is responsible for the expenditure certification and ERDF assistance payments processes for the Atlantic Area Programme.