During the conference held on 9th and 10th April 1999 in Grado (Italy), and with the support of the Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the three interregional organisations – the Assembly of European Regions (AER), the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) – adopted a common position on the Community Initiative, Interreg III. The AER was delighted with the results of this conference especially as it is the first time that the interregional organisations have achieved a common position in an area of major interest for the Regions which are members.
The Final Declaration of Grado welcomes the reinforcement of Interreg for the 2000-2006 period, the principle of its financing for a single European fund (ERDF) and making the regional and local levels more responsible and more involved thanks to the “Bottom-up” approach. However, the interregional organisations bring the European Commission’s attention to the fact that the cooperation projects which benefit from Interreg III financing must be true crossborder, transnational and interregional projects. To achieve this, it is important to fix clear rules and criteria for eligibility as well as ensuring a strong coordination between the different levels: local, regional, national and European. Moreover, in view of the development and enlargement of the European Union towards the east, the north and the south, it is essential to harmonize financing between the programmes Phare-CBC, Tacis-CBC, MEDA and Interreg III.
The three organisations also decided to sytematically coordinate their policies and to inform each other of the results of their actions with the European institutions, especially concerning Interreg III.
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