This notice sets out how current and future European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes would be affected if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Find out how this would affect you if you:
want to apply for funding from the ETC programmes
already get funding from the ETC programmes
Before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)
The purpose of this notice is to explain what happens if the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated agreement, in the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’. It is for UK organisations who participate or want to apply for European Territorial Cooperation in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (the EU budget).
The current European Territorial Cooperation programmes support projects that enable businesses, universities, local and regional authorities and the voluntary and community sectors in different countries to work together on shared issues.
These programmes bring together organisations that collaborate in designing new solutions and approaches, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of participating groups and individuals. They fund projects on a range of priorities, including business competitiveness, innovation, renewable energy, health, transport, tourism and culture, and climate change and the environment.
Current delivery arrangements
Organisations in different EU countries apply together for funding on a competitive basis. A single organisation acts as the lead partner for the whole project, on behalf of all other organisations who are involved in that project.
If the application is approved, the lead partner signs an agreement with the Managing Authority, with a partnership agreement governing relationships between all project partners. The lead partner coordinates claims and payments for all project partners through a process that involves the Managing Authority and the European Commission.
The Managing Authority monitors the delivery of projects. Every project partner is subject to audit procedures, which ensures EU funding rules have been followed.
The UK participates in fifteen European Territorial Cooperation programmes, for which the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) oversees the overall policy and coordination across the UK.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) oversees UK interests in the nine programmes involving English project partners. UK interests in the other six programmes are overseen by the Devolved Administrations or HM Government of Gibraltar. A summary of these fifteen programmes is provided in the section on ‘Further Information.’
Each European Territorial Cooperation programme is managed by a separate Managing Authority, with two UK-based Managing Authorities and one joint North-South Managing Authority between Northern Ireland and Ireland. These Managing Authorities manage programmes on behalf of the EU countries who participate in each programme.
These programmes are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This is funded by the contributions by the UK and other EU countries as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework. There is separate national financing from non-EU partners where they participate in programmes. Managing Authorities are responsible for managing the flow of funding with the European Commission and for certification and payment of claims to project partners.
After March 2019 if there’s no deal
In the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, the UK’s departure from the EU would mean UK organisations may be unable to access EU funding for European Territorial Cooperation projects after exit day.
The Chancellor announced in August and October 2016 that the government would guarantee certain EU projects agreed before we leave the EU in order to provide more certainty for UK organisations over the course of EU exit. This guarantee included ETC projects.
In July 2018, the government extended the guarantee to provide further stability for UK organisations in a no-deal scenario. The guarantee for European Territorial Cooperation programmes now covers the full 2014 to 2020 programme period.
This means that grant funding to UK beneficiaries in respect of all projects approved on a competitive basis before the end of the programming period is now guaranteed. Managing Authorities can continue to sign new contracts with UK beneficiaries after exit for the duration of the programmes.
However, the government will have to work with other parties such as the European Commission to ensure that continued participation for UK organisations in European Territorial Cooperation programmes is possible and the UK can respond to new calls and continue to deliver projects.
Further information on the guarantee will be provided as it becomes available.
Delivery of the Guarantee
The UK government understands the joint management of European Territorial Cooperation programmes creates additional complexity, and that continued delivery of projects requires joint working with Managing Authorities and EU countries.
The intention is to deliver the funding guarantee using existing programme management arrangements where possible, so that project partners can continue working together under a common framework and systems.
This is subject to agreement between the European Commission, Managing Authority and EU countries in each European Territorial Cooperation programme. Discussions on this will continue and further details will be provided through updates on this technical notice as agreements are reached.
Actions for businesses and stakeholders
Organisations should continue applying for and delivering funding under current arrangements with confidence in the funding guarantee in a ‘no deal’ scenario.