Programme Thematic Objectives
The planned actions in this objective will help develop research and innovation capabilities in the cross-border area. They aim to strengthen existing research infrastructure and improve collaboration between different organisations. The goal is to translate research into practical technologies that have a positive impact on society. The actions will also focus on promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors and reducing the gender gap in technological fields. The regions in the cooperation area are already working on strategies for renewable energy, sustainable development, life sciences, health, and ICT. The objective is to support projects in these areas and create cross-border networks for research and knowledge transfer. Overall, the actions will contribute to enhancing research excellence, utilizing resources effectively, and improving conditions for researchers.
RSO 1.1 Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies
Digitalization poses a major challenge for the cross-border area, affecting various sectors of the economy, society, and administration. Spain ranks 9th and Portugal 16th in the EU's Digital Economy and Society Index. To address the disparities and harness the benefits of digitalisation, the objective is to integrate businesses, research institutions, public entities, and citizens. Actions include supporting digitalisation of small businesses, developing joint data processing solutions, promoting cybersecurity, and enhancing digital skills. Rural areas will receive special attention. The aim is to improve competitiveness, innovation, and public services through digital transformation.
RSO 1.2 Reaping the benefits of digitisation for citizens, companies, research organisations and public authorities
Under this objective, priority will be given to projects linked to the sectors identified in the RIS3 strategies. Here are some actions that can be funded under this objective: supporting small businesses to enhance their competitiveness, providing advanced support services, fostering innovative business clusters, and promoting internationalization. These actions aim to help businesses integrate advanced services, implement innovative approaches, and improve their international presence. By collaborating in clusters and networks, these actions contribute to sustainable growth and create quality jobs in the cross-border area.
In the cross-border area, the service sector is dominant, but the industrial sector plays a significant role. The goal is to consolidate the industrial contribution to the local economy and promote a modern, sustainable, and digitalized industry. Focus will be on sectors identified in regional strategies for smart specialization. This includes activities in agri-food, socio-sanitary, industrial, silver economy, blue economy, transportation, and utilizing local resources sustainably. Entrepreneurship will also be supported for social integration. Actions include developing capabilities, implementing sustainable models, and providing cross-border training. These efforts aim to foster industrial transition and smart specialization in the cross-border territory.
RSO 1.3 Enhancing sustainable growth and competitiveness of SMEs and job creation in SMEs, including by productive investments
RSO 1.4 Developing skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship
Projects should focus on sustainable solutions and energy efficiency, prioritizing renewable energy when maximum energy efficiency is achieved.
Funding can support initiatives like enhancing energy efficiency in small businesses, renovating non-residential buildings, improving public services and infrastructure, and developing efficient energy distribution systems.
The main objective is to increase energy efficiency in various sectors, promoting joint projects for efficient energy distribution and cogeneration. This fosters a sustainable economy with reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the cross-border area. Ultimately, these actions will help reduce emissions, work towards carbon neutrality, and mitigate climate change.
RSO 2.2 Renewable energy
The programme aims to participate to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption, promotion of sustainable energy, and alignment with greenhouse gas reduction policies. It will support actions such as research and development of small-scale renewable energy projects and the use of sustainable energy and new technologies. The focus is on increasing the share of renewable energy in the cross-border area and prioritizing existing technologies and improvements in sustainable energy.
RSO 2.4 Promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention and resilience, taking into account eco-system based approaches
Under the POCTEP 2021-2027 framework, we'll tackle natural risks like fires, floods, and erosion, exacerbated by climate change.
We'll create disaster management systems to reduce damage and aid recovery, focusing on nature-based solutions.
We plan to fund:
1. Joint disaster plans.
2. Disaster prevention and resilience measures.
3. Recovery of disaster-hit areas.
4. Climate change consideration in planning.
5. Water resource management.
6. Environmental goal actions.
7. Climate impact studies on water.
8. Pollution reduction and monitoring.
9. Risk assessments of climate change.
Through these actions, we aim to collaboratively tackle climate change, manage natural risks, and boost resilience.
RSO 2.7 Biodiversity and green infrastructure
Here, we aim to protect nature and biodiversity in the Portugal-Spain border area. We're funding:
1. Protection of legally secured areas.
2. Joint plans for protected areas, considering climate change and invasive species.
3. Biodiversity conservation in key, unprotected areas.
4. Joint efforts for nature conservation and species recovery.
5. Green infrastructure in farming, fishing, water conservation, and cities.
6. Development of green networks across borders.
7. Joint solutions for waste management and pollution.
Our goal is joint protection of nature, considering climate change, and using green solutions.
Improving job opportunities and conditions at the Portugal-Spain border is crucial to retain workers and ensure social stability. We're focusing on employment rates, the gender gap in job security, and enhancing conditions for 60,000 border workers.
We'll fund initiatives to:
1. Increase job access and ongoing learning.
2. Balance work-life commitments.
3. Match job demand and supply using Big Data.
4. Support self-employment and startups, prioritising women and those struggling to find work.
5. Promote job opportunities in depopulated areas.
6. Encourage cross-border mobility and revive transport affected by the health crisis.
7. Develop social economy through cooperatives.
8. Promote healthy work environments and physical activity.
9. Enhance cooperation and information access for a better job market.
These actions aim to make the job market more effective and inclusive, providing personalised guidance and promoting the social economy.
RSO 4.1 Enhancing the effectiveness and inclusiveness of labour markets and access to quality employment through developing social infrastructure and promoting social economy
RSO 4.2 Improving equal access education, training and lifelong
In the Portugal-Spain border region, we're addressing early school leaving, jobless youth, and the need for skilled workers. We're also tackling gender gaps in employment.
We'll fund actions to:
1. Enhance quality education and digital learning.
2. Support vulnerable groups and reduce school dropouts.
3. Develop common curriculums, including languages.
4. Promote vocational training linked to local sectors.
5. Encourage student exchange and bilingual experiences.
6. Share educational resources and provide adult education.
These actions aim to increase equal access to quality education, improve digital learning, and develop shared curriculums.
RSO 4.5 Ensuring equal access to health care and fostering resilience of health systems
We're working to provide equal access to health, social, and educational services in the Portugal-Spain border region. Our focus includes improving and digitising current services, especially after COVID-19.
Our plan involves:
1. Boosting cross-border health systems.
2. Encouraging telemedicine and integrated IT systems.
3. Sharing experience between health organisations.
4. Sharing health resources, like ambulances and vaccination units.
5. Developing services focused on patient-centric care models.
6. Promoting healthy lifestyles.
7. Sharing best practices in health management processes.
These efforts aim to improve public services, introduce health technologies, and promote healthier lifestyles.
RSO 4.6 Enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism
The programme focus under this priority focus is on recovery from COVID-19 and transforming tourism and cultural sectors into sustainable, climate-resilient models. This will improve the region's appeal and manage seasonal changes.
Possible funded actions include:
1. Protecting and promoting tourist resources.
2. Jointly promoting cross-border cultural heritage.
3. Promoting sustainable, climate-adapted tourism.
4. Educating the tourism sector on climate change risks.
5. Using ICT and 'data mining' for rapid adaptation in the tourism sector.
These efforts will strengthen the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic growth, social inclusion, and innovation in this border region.
This priority will allow us to run integrated projects in five areas to create a bigger impact:
1. Galicia-North: Focus on environmental protection within the Gerês-Xurés Biosphere Reserve.
2. North-Castilla and León: Encompasses two Natural Parks, aims at conserving environment, tackling demographic issues, rural development, and boosting tourism.
3. Centre-Castilla and León: Covers seven Natural Parks, targeting natural and environmental heritage, social and local development.
4. Centre-Extremadura-Alentejo: Named "Bauhaus Villages in EUROACE", addressing demographic challenges, business attraction, and flexible mobility.
5. Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia: Located in the Guadiana River area, its goal is socio-economic promotion, biodiversity conservation, and risk management.
Each project will improve the function of these spaces from a cross-border perspective.
RSO 5.2 Fostering the integrated and inclusive social, economic and environmental local development, culture, natural heritage, sustainable tourism and security in areas other than urban areas
Continuous training of public administration staff is crucial. This involves learning about cross-border issues and how to use management tools and vital information for better service management.
Some potential actions include:
- Training to improve cross-border cooperation governance.
- Joint training for the shared provision of cross-border public services.
- Collecting reliable digital cross-border information to improve service delivery.
These actions will enhance the skills of public sector professionals, improving communication between different administrations and residents in the cooperation area.
RSO 6.1 Enhance the institutional capacity of public authorities
RSO 6.2 Enhance efficient public administration
Groups working across Spanish and Portuguese borders face difficulties due to different laws and procedures. It's vital to keep reducing these differences for smoother cooperation.
We could fund actions like:
- Removing legal and administrative barriers.
- Sharing experiences and know-how among staff.
- Coordinating climate change responses.
- Managing natural border areas.
- Planning for shared river basins.
- Encouraging joint work in tourism.
- Improving services for specific vulnerable groups.
These actions aim to boost cooperation by lessening the hurdles caused by differing laws and procedures.
RSO 6.3 Build up mutual trust
Projects aiming to build trust between institutions, organisations, and people across the Portugal-Spain border offer a great chance to boost interactions. We aim to speed up cooperation and make these interactions long-lasting. They'll focus on small-scale topics like culture, sports, science, and promoting specific groups.
This will be particularly beneficial for smaller towns, non-profits, and the general public.
We could fund actions like:
- Sharing good practices in areas like culture, environment, education, health, sports, and social work.
- Exchanging experiences among people with disabilities or from vulnerable families.
- Supporting initiatives that promote local resources, including events to boost these sectors.
These projects will encourage community involvement, business partnerships, and better territorial cohesion.
RSO 6.6 Other actions to support better cooperation governance
Under this objective, we're looking for projects that enhance cooperation and capitalize on the knowledge generated by previous efforts.
Our goal is to improve the program's performance by preventing the loss of valuable project results. We're considering funding actions such as:
- Developing plans to make the most of past project results and identifying entities that can apply them.
- Promoting joint experiences to foster synergy between projects and identify valuable knowledge for future use.
- Conducting prospective diagnoses to guide joint cooperation actions in future projects.
- Strengthening the knowledge from previous projects before transferring the results.
- Establishing cross-border cooperation networks to transfer project results into public policies.
- Supporting the development of territorial strategies for better cooperation governance.
These actions will enhance governance, deepen the understanding of project results, foster synergy between projects, and increase the program's overall impact.
See the list of all projects at
What is POCTEP?
POCTEP is a programme that promotes cross-border development and cooperation between Spain and Portugal, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The acronym stands for “Programa Operativo de Cooperación Transfronteriza España-Portugal” (Operational Programme for Cross-Border Cooperation Spain-Portugal) during the period 2007-2013, and later renamed “Programa de Cooperación Interreg España-Portugal” (Interreg Cooperation Program Spain-Portugal) for the period 2014-2020.
The Interreg Spain-Portugal Programme (POCTEP) 2021-2027 is the largest cross-border cooperation programme in the EU, with a total allocation of 427 million euros (299 million euros from the ERDF for projects). It has been developed by the member states of Spain and Portugal to address key challenges in the border area between the two countries.
The programme takes into account the current situation in the cooperation area, strategic references, principles of multi-level partnership and governance, and the results of the strategic environmental assessment in its formulation.
What is the cooperation area?
The Interreg Spain-Portugal Cross-Border Cooperation Programme (POCTEP) 2021-2027 is focused on the border between Spain and Portugal, which stretches for a total of 1,234 km, making it one of the longest in Europe.
Considering the specific characteristics of each territory, their historical trajectory, and the successful outcomes achieved, the programme will continue to be organised around the 6 Cooperation Areas and 36 NUT III regions that have shaped the territory in previous programmes:
AC1: Galicia / Northern Portugal
AC2: Northern Portugal / Castilla y León
AC3: Castilla y León / Central Portugal
AC4: Central / Extremadura / Alentejo
AC5: Alentejo / Algarve / Andalusia
These areas serve as the framework for cooperation efforts and collaboration between regions on both sides of the border.
Agência para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão, I.P. (Agência, I.P.)
- +351 218 814 000
- Av. 5 de Outubro, n.º 153
1050-053 | Lisboa
- +351 266740300
- Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo
Av. Engº. Arrantes e Oliveira, 193
7004-514 | Évora
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- Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Algarve
Praça da Liberdade, 2
8000-164 | Faro
- + 351 239 400 100/131
- Coordenadora POCTEP - Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Centro
Rua Bernardim Ribeiro 80
3000-069 | Coimbra
Ministerio de Hacienda. Dirección General de Fondos Europeos
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- Paseo de la Castellana, 162
28071 | Madrid
- Dirección Xeral de Relacións Exteriores e coa UE
Rua do hórreo, 61 | 15701 | Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)
Castilla y León
- Dirección General de Presupuestos y Estadística. Consejería de Hacienda
C/ José Cantalapiedra, 2
47014 | Valladolid
- Dirección General de Financiación Autonómica y Fondos Europeos. Consejería de Administración Pública y Hacienda
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06800 | Mérida (Badajoz)