Update on the future of UK programme participation

07 July 2020 - Published by Anne Sofie Forfang

The UK government has announced its decision to opt out of European Territorial Cooperation including all Interreg programmes in the next programming period (2021-2027). The only exception is the Peace Plus programme.

This means that the next chapter of the North Sea Region Programme will be written without the UK. Sad as this is, we remain confident that the new programme will continue on its path towards building prosperity and resilience in the North Sea Region.

Current projects continue as planned

The UK decision will not affect ongoing projects. Based on the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, the UK will continue to participate in the North Sea Region Programme until the end of the 2014-2020 programme period. UK beneficiaries will thus still be able to participate in ongoing projects until they finish, which may be as late as June 2023.

A future programme without the UK

Looking back on more than 20 years of fruitful cooperation, the UK has played an invaluable role in shaping the North Sea Region Programme. In strong cooperation with the other member countries, the UK has helped the programme become what it is today.

We are confident that the programme will continue to deliver highly targeted and impactful projects. As our cooperation heat maps show, the programme engages beneficiaries across the entire region, with the current top hot spots of innovation being Groningen, Hamburg, Gent, Gothenburg and Leeuwarden. Even with the loss of the UK, there is plenty of innnovation power in the programme. 

That said, for sure the departure of the UK will leave a void  - and not just in our work but also in our hearts. On the upside, the transition will not happen overnight. We look very much forward to continuing our support to UK beneficiaries for several years to come. 


Head of Secretariat Christian Byrith & Programme and Project Coordinator Sarah Holsen