The Interreg III B community Initiative Programme (2000-2006) aimed at promoting transnational cooperation among national, regional and local authorities in view at fostering a better territorial integration within the Union through the creation of big groups of European regions.
The main objectives of the Programme were:
- Increasing the integration level within the Sudoe area through access improvement and economic and social interaction fostering.
- Creating a sustainable feature within Europe providing cultural and natural heritage preservation and improvement in view at guaranteeing that the Sudoe area was consolidated as a place of ecologic and social experiences for the sustainable development.
- Developing the Sudoe economy and reinforcing its position at global level taking into account the territorial impact of public actions and creating economic structures network. Reinforcing proximity links with the Mediterranean and also Central and South America.
- Integrating transnational cooperations within development strategies promoted by national, regional and local public actors.
The eligible area was limited by the regions established at NUTS II level:
- France: Aquitaine, Auvergne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées, Poitou-Charentes.
- Spain: Galicia, Principado de Asturias, Cantabria, País Vasco, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, Aragón, Cataluña, Castilla y León, La Rioja, Comunidad de Madrid, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Comunidad Valenciana, Región de Murcia, Andalucía, Canarias, Islas Baleares, Ciudad autónoma de Ceuta y Ciudad autónoma de Melilla.
- Portugal: Norte, Centro, Lisboa e vale do Tejo, Alentejo, Algarve, Região Autónoma dos Açores y Região Autónoma da Madeira.
- United Kingdom: Gibraltar.
The initial financial distribution (Decision nºC (98)819, 7th April 1998) was modified by the Decision nº C (1999) of the European Commission, 28 December 1999, approved by the financial re-programmation proposal (in total cost, millions of Euros) as it follows:
- Measure 1: Promoting polycentrism and reinforcing the urban system competitiveness – 3.048.
- Measure 2: developing rural areas of low population density – 4.570.
- Measure 3: connection logics- internal networks and inclusion within European transport system -1.399.
This supposed a total amount of 9.017 million of euros and 9.689 millions of euros including the technical assistance (672000 euros). Concerning the ERDF co-financing, from 5.152.000 euros it became 5.547.000 euros, due to the integration of amounts from diverse sources as such as the transfer or quantities coming from other EU programmes, which supposed a 60% average co-financing amount by project.