Programming period 2021-2027

The 2021-2027 programming path is based on four principles:

1. Ensure a better concentration of resources as already done in the 2014-2020 programming period

2. Enhancing and increasing the added value of the results and outputs achieved by operations during the 2014-2020 programming period

3. Capitalize on the experience of the program starting from the successful projects and virtuous actions carried out by the beneficiaries of the area during the 2014-2020 programming period

4. Follow the recommendations of the European Commission on the new programming period 2021-2027

Preparatory works

On 3 May 2022, at 3:00pm, the fifth meeting of the Task Force for the preparation of the Italia Malta programme for the 2021-2027 programming period took place.

The meeting took place by video conference and the following components were present

Managing Authority
Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione \ Department of Cohesion Policies
Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale \Agency for Territorial Cohesion
Regione Siciliana - Dipartimento dell’Ambiente Sicilian Region - Department of the Environment
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento della Famiglia e delle Politiche sociali Sicilian Region – Department of Family and Social Policies
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento regionale della Programmazione Sicilian Region – Regional Department of Programming
Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) - Strategy and Implementation Division (SID) (chairing for this time)
Ministry for the Economy, European Funds and lands - Funds and Programmes Division (FPD)
Ministry for Finance and Financial Services (MFIN)
Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ)
European Commission
Joint Secretariat
NVVIP Sicilia (Experts invited)

The agenda provided that  Task Force members were updated on the contents of the programme and the SEA procedure.

After extensive discussion on Programme contents , on the Small Projects and on their binding nature, on the methodology for using the Simplified Cost Options, the TF members agreed that the contents included in the program Template, already approved during the last written procedure concluded in April 2022, were fully approved. It was also decided that the representatives of the two MS delegations would make any comments and / or additions no later than 10 working days.

With regard to the update on the SEA procedure, Task Force members were provided by the JS and the Nucleo di Valutazione (invited experts) with the requested clarifications relating to the management methods and timing of the consultations described in the Preliminary SEA Report.

In addition to the explanations on times and methods, the members of the TF approved the contents of the preliminary environmental report and gave a mandate to the MA to initiate the SEA procedure as soon as possible at the competent department.

TF fifth meeting works provided for the discussion on the integration of the comments received from the DPCoE, on the proposal to insert a legend of the acronomics and abbreviations used in the programme, on a revision useful for incorporating the related contents into the programme compliance with the horizontal principles and with the subsequent drafting and transmission of Appendix 3 - List of planned operations of strategic importance with a timetable in Reg. (EU) 1059/2021 and the "Methodological document accompanying the Programme" drawn up pursuant to art. . 16-17 - Reg. (EU) 1060/21

Lastly, to Task Force members has been proposed to modify ISO1 with the SO referred to in letter "d) enhance institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders to implement macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies, as well as other territorial strategies"; furthermore, it was specified that this modification would not alter the coherence of the proposed actions with respect to the strategy envisaged by the actions.

TF meeting works end at 4:35pm with the updating at subsequent meetings after sending the agreed documents

 

In line with art. 9 of the Task Force procedure rules on 12/04/2022 the Managing Authority closes the fourth written procedure with which the "Summary of the Implementation Strategy of the INTERREG Italia-Malta 2021-2027 programme" is approved, acknowledging the comments expressed by the representatives of the Member States.

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On 7 February 2022, at 3:00pm, the fourth meeting of the Task Force for the preparation of the Italia Malta programme for the 2021-2027 programming period took place.

The meeting took place by video conference and the following components were present:

Managing Authority (chairing for the time)
Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione \ Department of Cohesion Policies
Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale \ Agency for Territorial Cohesion
Regione Siciliana - Dipartimento dell’Ambiente \ Sicilian Region - Department of the Environment
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento della Famiglia e delle Politiche sociali Sicilian Region – Department of Family and Social Policies
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento regionale della Programmazione \ Sicilian Region – Regional Department of Programming
Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) - Strategy and Implementation Division (SID)
Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) -  Funds and Programmes Division (FPD)
Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ)
European Commission
Joint Secretariat
NVVIP Sicilia (invited experts)

The agenda initially provided for that to Task Force members would be reported the Results of the consultation activity with the qualified partnership of the cross border area.

The Joint Secretariat then reported on the 5 round tables organized at the end of November 2021 in which 509 subjects from both territories took part, attributable to public bodies, public law bodies, associations and SMEs.

The Joint Secretariat highlighted how the involvement of the stakeholders guaranteed a high and intense participation in the discussion, a high degree of satisfaction with the consultation approach chosen by the Programme Authorities and high expectations regarding the subsequent phases of the consultation process.

The Task Force, through the projection of dedicated slides, examined all the work carried out during the 5 round tables and expressed its positive evaluations on the documents presented.

Meeting work continued with the examination and approval of the document "Summary of the implementation strategy of the INTERREG VI-A Italia-Malta 2021-2027 programme”.

The Joint Secretariat then reported on the structure and contents of the document which consists of 10 chapters which describes the context analysis, the programme strategy, the choice of priorities and specific objectives, the proposal of indicators for future monitoring as well as an initial hypothesis for the distribution of resources.

The members of the Task Force, while sharing the illustrated strategic plan, have decided to postpone the approval of the document to a written procedure. Specifically, as regards the in-depth study of the detailed interventions by the Maltese, there was a need for more time to be devoted to the return of a fully shared document.

Fourth meeting works also provided for updates to be provided on the drafting of the Environmental Report of the Italia-Malta 21-27 programme and specifically on how to start the preliminary screening procedure for SEA.

The works were concluded with the update to a subsequent written procedure.

Pursuant to art. 9 of the task force procedure rules, on 15.02.2022 the written procedure for the examination and approval of the Summary of the Implementation Strategy of the INTERREG Italia-Malta 2021-2027 programme was launched.

Through the fourth written procedure, task force members could express their position in writing within the terms.

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In order to consolidate strategic choices and collect ideas and proposals on possible actions and potential beneficiaries to be included in the new programme, the Managing Authority and the Maltese National Coordination Authority, with the support of the Joint Secretariat, organized 5 thematic round tables carried up  according to the following schedule:

- Tourism and Cultural Heritage 23-nov-21 h 10:00am
- Risk Management/Climate change 24-nov-21 h 3:00pm
- Governance 29-nov-21 h 10:00am
- Research & Innovation /Competitiveness 29-nov-21 h 3:00pm
- Environmental Protection 30-nov-21 h 09:00am

The round tables aimed to present the strategy of the future Italia Malta 2021-2027 programme, the strategic objectives, the specific objectives deriving from the territorial analysis and to define, together with the qualified participants, the eligible actions and the main groups of potential beneficiaries of the new programme.

The tables were held through an online participatory discussion methodology which, borrowing the World Café model, aims to create a work environment totally free of stress and external pressures, which inspires the participants and invites them to a free and participatory discussion.

Through this methodology, participants in these tables had the opportunity to discuss together the objectives, purposes and goals of the future Italia Malta Programme and to propose strategic actions / projects that can be financed across borders

The discussions took place both in plenary sessions, animated by qualified speakers, and around small virtual tables or rooms, with a control room placed in the center that launches the topics that are then treated by the groups.

Read here the article pubblished on Programme website

 

The work of this period was aimed at the implementation of what was planned regarding the consultation of the partnership

On November 4th, 2022, the Public Notice of Consolidation of the Qualified Partnership was published on the Italia-Malta Programme website with the aim of expanding and consolidating, for the Italian part of the cross-border area, the list of qualified entities already identified by the Task Force in order to launch consultation tables for the definition of eligible actions to be funded under the Italia-Malta 2021-2027 programme.

All relevant information and documentation can be found in the Consolidation Notice (only in IT)

On 5th November 2022 the same Notice was published on the website of the Planning Department, Managing Authority of the Italia-Malta Programme

 

In October 2021, the Planning Department launches interdepartmental coordination actions for the strategic orientation of the actions of the Italia-Malta 21-27 programme.

As the Managing Authority of the Program, it has in fact organized 4 operational meetings with the representatives of the regional Departments involved in the Policy and Strategic objectives which represent the programmatic basis of the actions of the new Italia-Malta 2021-2027 programme.

The meetings took place according to the following schedule and organizational methodology

Dipartimento regionale Ambiente\Regional Department of the Environment - 19.10.2021 at 10:00am on the online platform

Dipartimento regionale Turismo\Regional Tourism Department - 19.10.2021 at 12.00pm on the online platform

Dipartimento regionale Formazione Professionale\Regional Department of Professional Training - 20.10.2021 at 12:00pm in presence

Dipartimento regionale Attività Produttive\Regional Department of Productive Activities - 20.10.2021 at 3:30pm on the online platform

The meetings had the purpose of

-outlining the possible synergies and complementarities between the Italia Malta Programme and the Sicily ERDF, especially in reference to the benefits expected from their connection within the different strategic objectives

- defining the strategic areas and the related eligible actions for possible intervention of the future Italia-Malta 21-27 programme that could be better capitalized

- collecting "success stories" in order to evaluate a possible cross-border capitalization

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The next phase of the planning process (initially scheduled for the end of July 2021) provides for the sharing and acquisition of feedback with the partnership on the planning hypotheses and the subsequent re-elaboration for the purposes of drafting the Programme.

The work of this period concerned the detailed planning of the partnership involvement.

The consultation procedures include the activation of 5 thematic tables (Tourism and cultural heritage, Research and innovation, Competitiveness, Risk management, Environmental protection) and 1 transversal (Governance).

In order to identificate  in the round tables, a list of relevant partners was defined, based on a preliminary screening work conducted by the JS for the Italian side and by the representatives of the Maltese government for Malta.

This list was defined on the basis of a consistency check of each stakeholder (who has also already taken part as beneficiary in the programme) with respect to the cross-border challenges identified by the TF.

For the purpose of a greater opening of the consultation process and the "discovery" of new relevant actors, a public procedure was opted for consisting in the publication (on the institutional sites of Sicily and Malta and on that of the OP IT MT) of an event of interest for the collection of applications from those interested in defining the Programme.

The identification of this procedure was necessary to fill any absences - eg. Municipalities of the area and free municipal consortia (former provinces) - in the list of relevant partners identified.

On 28 July 2021 at 2.00 pm in online mode, a restricted technical meeting of Task-Force 21-27 components of the INTERREG Italy Malta Program was held for the updates and for the operative definition  of the consultation process described.

In this period TF work concerned the provisional framework of the specific objectives to be launched for public consultation.

For the purposes of an overall framework of the preliminary strategy of the future Italia-Malta programme with respect to the Mediterranean scenario (WESTEMED) and the mainstream OP ERDF Sicily, the broad coherences and potential synergies have been identified.

The provisional framework of the specific objectives is downloadable below

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On May 5th , 2021, at 9:30 a.m., the third meeting of the Task Force for the preparation of the Italy Malta Programme for the 2021-2027 programming period took place.

The meeting took place through video conference due to the Covid-19 emergency restrictions and the following members were present::

Managing Authority (chairing for the time)
Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione/Cohesion Policy Department
Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale/Agency for Territorial Cohesion
Regione Siciliana - Dipartimento dell’Ambiente/Sicilian Region - Department of the Environment
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento della Famiglia e delle Politiche sociali/Sicilian Region – Department of Family and Social Policies
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento regionale della Programmazione/Sicilian Region – Regional Department of Programming
Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) - Strategy and Implementation Division (SID), Office of the Prime Minister Funds and Programmes Division (FPD), OPM
Ministry for Finance and Financial Services (MFIN)
Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ)
European Commission
Joint Secretariat
NVVIP Sicilia (Invited Experts)

The agenda provided for that to Task Force members were illustrated the reasons for the selection of the Policy Objectives and Specific Objectives relating to the Italia-Malta 21-27 programme draft; that the first reflections on the distribution in percentage terms of the financial allocations of ERDF resources among the policy objectives of the Italia-Malta 21-27 programme were transmitted; and that members were updated on the drafting of the Environmental Report and on the ex ante Evaluation of the Italia-Malta 21-27 programme.

The members of the Task Force then discussed and commented on the policy and specific objectives to be included in the new program, referring the possible financial allocations to subsequent considerations.

They were informed of the start of the process of defining the environmental report to be integrated with Maltese data as soon as available.

With respect to the ex ante evaluation of the program, although not foreseen by the general regulation proposal,  Task Force members appreciated that it will be carried out at the end of the drafting of the programme and this in order to ensure maximum consistency with regional, national and Community policies.

Since the Task Force had previously approved "the Territorial Analysis of the Cooperation Area for the period 2021-2027" and the document " Consultation process with the partnership for the Italia Malta 2021-2027 Programme", at this meeting the TF was informed of the forthcoming start of activities for the organization of thematic round tables that will involve the qualified partnership of the area in discussing the main themes of the programme in order to define a list of eligible actions.

The work ended keeping update at the next meeting

In the Mediterranean area, 3 online technical seminars organized by the INTERACT Program have already taken place. The first in June 2020 focused on “WHICH issue to work on jointly”; the second in September 2020 focused on "WHO does what" to ensure synergies between the programmes and the third in January 2021 which focused on "HOW to improve inter-program coordination in the Mediterranean between Interreg programmes".

As a functional follow-up to the latter, a fourth online technical seminar was organized on 28 April 2021. Based on the information to be provided in sections 1.2 and 2.1.2 of the programme’s template, this seminar focused on “TOOLS and THEMES”.

Two important aspects were discussed during the seminar: tools that can make inter-program coordination and thematic choices of the Task Forces effective; possible operations \ activities programmes may finance under each theme.

In addition to the Managing Authorities and the Joint Secretariats of the programmes, the Commission also participated in the seminar with Jean Pierre Halkin and Pascal Boijmans, DG Regio, who gave updates on the INTERREG programmes.The current INTERACT HIT, Jems and Keep tools were then presented.

During the session it was explained what they are for and how they could potentially improve synergies and coordination between programmes.

The discussion then continued in different groupings (break out rooms) on the programmes thematic choices updates for the subsequent period based on the Task Forces decisions and the possible activities programmes may finance.

After the discussions in the break out room, the seminar ended.

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Interact Seminar HOW

The second day of work, January 26th, 2021, began with the illustration of the beneficiaries' experiences for the topic "Inter-programme coordination in Natural Disaster and risk reduction based on the beneficiaries experience” with the presentation pf projects:

Calypso South. Giuseppe Ciraolo, Italia Malta

PortoDiMare. Olga Sedioli, Adrion EUSAIR

MEDISS. Amal Orabi, ENI CBC MED

Works then moved on to the “Sub-geographic thematic discussions”.
Considering the existing territorial frameworks in the Mediterranean area (EUSAIR, WESTMED) and in the Eastern Mediterranean programmes, with the aim of working on complementarities based on the kind of operations financed within the different topics: Natural disasters and risk reduction. Clean Mediterranean. Sustainable tourism and culture. Blue growth.

At the conclusion of the work and to discuss the same issues, the participants were then divided into three discussion groups according to the geographical area of interest, namely Western Mediterranean area - Central Mediterranean area - Eastern Mediterranean area.

The next meeting was scheduled for April 2021, to discuss tools for coordination, complementarity of operations between TN and CBC, approach to the project chain; territorial framework for cooperation and confirmation of specific objectives and themes.

The third Interact seminar organized in January 2021 focused on HOW, i.e. how to improve inter-programme coordination between Interreg programmes.

The aim of the seminar is to ease the exchange and brainstorming of ideas in order to facilitate the task forces of the different programs to make their own decisions

The Seminar examined the following elements for brainstorming:
- Interreg inter-program coordination initiatives existing inside and outside the Mediterranean area.
-Definition and form of the common text to be completed in sections 1.2 and 2.1.2 of the cooperation programs.
-Territorial frameworks existing in the area: EUSAIR and WESTMED.
-Nature of the different Transnational and CBC program (Interreg Internal Frontiers, Interreg NEXT and Interreg IPA).

Organized on an online platform, the agenda of the seminar developed over two half days in the morning.

On the first day, January 25th, 2021, the European Commission presented the updates on the Next Regulations Interreg 2021-2027 with the interventions of Pascal Boijmans and Jean Pierre Halkin.

In summary, it was communicated that Coreper on 16 December 2020 adopted a consolidated version of "confirmation of the final compromise text" which includes the annex - programme template and that publication in the Official Journal together with the CPR, ERDF and ESF+ regulations is expected for late May / early June; that the total budget for Interreg cooperation amounts to 8,050 million euros with a specific co-financing rate of 80% (85% for the programs of the ultra-peripheral regions).

There has been an update on the Architecture of the Interreg Regulation; on thematic concentration and next steps, i.e. implementing acts of Interreg (in close cooperation with Member States) and adoption of the programme.

Also in the same morning, with the aim of making known the inter-programme coordination initiatives existing inside and outside the Mediterranean area, intervened

Monica Bellisario. Dipartimento per le politiche di ceoesione. Italia
Jean Luc Frés. Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires Francia.
Laura Righi. Interreg Italy France Maritime.
Curzio Cervelli. Interreg MED.
Aldo Puleo and Martin Heibel. Interreg Next MED.
Lodovico Gherardi. Interreg Adrion.

The first day of work has been concluded with the session, moderated by Interact and TESIM, entitled Shaping a common text for the programmes to fill in section 1.2 and 2.1.2 of their Cooperation programmes.

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Task Force 2nd meeting

On the 17th of November 2020, at 9:30 a.m., the second meeting of the Task Force took place.

Due to restrictions related to theCOVID-19 emergency the meeting took place on video conference and the following components were present:

Managing Authority
Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione
Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale
Regione Siciliana - Dipartimento dell’Ambiente
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento della Famiglia e delle Politiche sociali
Regione Siciliana – Dipartimento regionale della Programmazione
Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) - Strategy and Implementation Division (SID) - presidente di turno
Funds and Programmes Division (FPD), MFEA Ministry for Finance and Financial Services (MFIN)
Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ)
European Commission
Joint Secretariat

The agenda provided that the members of the Task Force were shown:

- the path started that will lead from the 2014-2020 programming making use of the documentation and studies / analyzes conducted so far;

- the territorial analysis broken down by objectives, areas of investigation, main findings in Sicily and Malta;

- the partnership consultation process in terms of objectives, actions and tools, timing.

By sharing and approving the methodological approach proposed with the three documents, the members of the Task Force nevertheless required additional time to formulate feedback on the territorial analysis so that, as soon as it was approved, it could be reorganized on the basis of the policy objectives of the new programming period and, with respect to the implementation of the consultation activities, they decided that they should be carried out in conjunction with the selection of eligible actions and the identification of potential beneficiaries.

The meeting then continued with a preliminary discussion on the possible impacts of the actions of the 2021-2027 program in terms of the environment and on the operating procedures related to the drafting of the program's Environmental Report.

The subsequent works were scheduled according to the updated time schedule agreed at the end of the meeting.

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INTERACT Seminar “Improving Synergies across the Mediterranean for post 2020 – Part II”- WHO

INTERACT Seminar “Improving Synergies across the Mediterranean for post 2020 – Part II”- WHO

The second seminar organized by Interact was held on 29 September 2020 “Improving Synergies across the Mediterranean for post 2020 – Part II” focused on the topic WHO.

The seminar, held online due to COVID restrictions, was organized in a single morning session from 9:30 to 12:15 and included 4 subsequent sessions in a "discussion" key.

Following on from what was argued during the previous WHAT seminar, the WHO seminar specifically intended to initiate a joint discussion on “WHO” does “WHAT”.

From the perspective of the inter-coordination of programs, the event organized by Interact is an opportunity to clarify / explain the opinions of the participants and to improve the synergies between the programs.

This gives program authorities an opportunity to identify their added value and discuss the type of operations they can finance to be more efficient. The goal is to share information in order to achieve the desired complementarity and avoid overlaps in financing the same type of operations.

In a simple and pragmatic way, the idea of ​​this second meeting was to allow the participants to gather information relevant to the compilation of sections 1.2 and 2.1.2 of the cooperation programs.

The Managing Authorities and the Joint Secretariats of the transnational programs Med, Adrion, Sudoe, BalkanMed, of the cross-border programs Maritime Italy France, Italy Malta, Italy Croatia, Italy Slovenia, Italy Greece were invited to participate with an active role in the discussion. Alcotra Italy France, Andorra France Spain, Greece Cyprus, Bulgaria Greece, pre-accession instrument Greece Cyprus, Greece Bulgaria, Croatia Bosnia Montenegro, Italy Albania Montenegro, Greece Albania, neighborhood, development and international cooperation programs MED and Italy Tunisia. A maximum of 2 representatives per Member State were foreseen as observers, some representatives from EUSAIR, WestMed and TESIM.

After the introduction to the meeting, objectives and approach with "Who Are the main actors when talking about programs inter-program coordination?" by Interact, the seminar continued with a "discussion with the Commission on its role in improving inter-program coordination and on the importance of the territorial impact".

Discussing for the Commission Jean Pierre Halkin, Director of Unit D1-DG REGIO and Pascal Boijmans, Director of Unit D2-DG REGIO with the following objectives:

1 - to clarify their role in the inter-program coordination process in the Mediterranean area through questions and answers

2 - describe the territorial framework in the area, considering EUSAIR and WestMed as territorial / maritime frameworks

3 - describe the links to sections 1.2 and 2.1.2 of the Interreg template

This was followed by a discussion with Member States on their role in improving complementarity between Interreg programs. The main interventions that laid the foundations for the Discussion were entrusted to Monica Bellisario. Department for Cohesion Policies, Italy; Mitja Bricelj. National Environment Coordinator EUSAIR, Slovenia; Jean Luc Frés, National Agency for the Cohesion of Territories, France.

At the end of the seminar the discussion continued among the participants on the nature and scope of the operations and actions implemented within the most appropriate geographical scale in distinct rooms between Transnational / Cross-border.

The following seminar will address the topic of HOW

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The seminar, held online due to COVID restrictions, was organized in a single morning session from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

Its general objective was to strengthen the cooperation envisaged by the ETC Regulation, from the programming process to its implementation, for a greater impact on the territory and efficiency using public funds in the Mediterranean area.

The WHAT seminar specifically intended to initiate the discussion between the authorities of the programs falling under the ETC regulation linked by functional area and explore the need for a coordination mechanism / solution to address geographical challenges, identify issues and build synergies.

The seminar included the Commission interventions of the State of Play & Main by Jean Pierre Halkin, REGIO D1 and Pascal Boijmans, REGIO D2.

At the end, an informal discussion followed where the programs shared information on the expected times for the adoption of the OP; on the assessment of territorial needs highlighting the main possible challenges / issues to be faced in the area.

The WHAT seminar was followed by INTERACT with the organization of two other seminars called WHO and HOW.

On the 23rd of April 2020 the first meeting of the Task Force for the preparation of the INTERREG Italia Malta programme for the 2021-2027 programming period took place.

The meeting took place via video conference due to the restrictions related to the COVID-19 emergency

The working documents were sent by the Joint Secretariat one week before to the invited participants.

The agenda basically provided for the approval of the agenda, the approval of the task force rules of procedure, the approval of the work plan and the time schedule of the 2021-2027 task force works.

At the meeting were present the following members:

Managing Authority chairing the Task Force
Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione
Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale
Regione Sicilia - Dipartimento Ambiente
Regione Sicilia – Dipartimento Famiglia
Regione Sicilia - votermembro con diritto di voto
Malta - Funds and Programmes Division Programmes and Projects
Malta - Strategy and Implementation Division
Malta - Funds and Programmes Division - Territorial Cooperation 2014-2020 Unit
European Commission
Joint Secretariat

In line with the agenda, the Task Force decided on its own Settlement and its own Constitution.

After sharing and discussing the documents to be approved (Internal Regulations, Work Plan and Timeline of the 2021-2027 task force), following the various changes made to the original documents, the participants agreed to postpone the approval of the same through a written procedure.

On 27/04/2020 the Managing Authority therefore initiated the written procedure and the members of the task force were able to express their position in writing within the term of ten (10) calendar days following the date of receipt of the communication of start.

On 19/05/2020 the Managing Authority sent the members of the task force the communication of the closure of the written procedure for the approval of the internal regulations and the work plan for the 2021-2027 programming activities. approved with the amendments and additions received by the Italian delegation and the Maltese delegation and included in the version of 15/05/2020.

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On the basis of the guidelines of the MOP and taking into account the time schedule of the community legislator, the establishment procedure of the Task Force for the preparation of the Italia-Malta 2021-2027 Cooperation Programme in line with the provisions of the draft regulation 374 / 2018 was initiated.

The Task Force is responsible for analyzing the results of the evaluation of the 2014-2020 period, the strategic frameworks relevant to the cooperation area and the needs of the territories involved; to determine common challenges and strategic and operational responses in terms of objectives, priorities, actions, etc; to allocate resources by Objectives and priorities / methods of integration of the funds; to identify the operating methods of the Programme and the Programme Authorities / bodies.

In this first phase, with reference to the composition of the 2021-2027 task force, an initial composition proposal was made which included Members with the right to vote (up to 4 representatives of each MS; up to 2 representatives for each of the eligible territories NUTS 2 / NUTS 3 level chosen from: local NUTS 2 and NUTS 3 level institutions, universities and / or associations of municipalities;) and Members without voting rights (the European Commission; economic and social partnership; any other subjects, with the agreement of the TF).

On 21/02/2020, the Managing Authority of the INTERREG V-A Italia Malta programme launched the written procedure of the Monitoring Committee for the approval of the constitution and composition of the 2021-2027 task force, as well as the use of financial resources of the technical assistance plan of the INTERREG V-A Italia-Malta 2014-2020 programme to allow the Managing Authority and the Maltese National Coordination Authority to cope with the activities of the 2021-2027 task force.

On 05/03/2020 the written procedure was concluded with the approval of the constitution of the 2021-2027 task force and the authorization to use the financial resources of the technical assistance plan of the INTERREG V-A Italia-Malta 2014-2020 programme to make dealing with the activities of the task force 2021-2027.

According to the guidelines indicated in the MOP, the Italia-Malta cross-border programme should focus on a limited number of objectives in which cross-border cooperation can make a difference and be sustainable; it should ensure coordination with the Main Programs and cooperate with other Mediterranean cross-border programmes to increase the impact on joint or parallel projects.

In this perspective of coordination and cooperation, for the future Italia-Malta programme, the MOP indicates to support

- research and innovation provided that supported actions correspond to local needs and are aligned with national or regional Smart Specialization Strategies;

- transnational business programmes linked to research and innovation and to the promotion of the blue economy, necessarily providing for the active participation of professional registers / trade associations;

- jointly alternative forms of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism also with a view to seasonally adjusting visitor flows;

- maritime security not only in the border area of the Italia-Malta programme, but also in close cooperation with the other cross-border maritime programmes in the Mediterranean Sea;

- environmental and coastal protection, including from marine litter, from climate change;

- risk management and development of renewable energies, also supporting small renewable energy grids in order to reduce energy dependence.

Furthermore, given the strong economic ties between Malta and Sicily, joint projects for professional skills could be developed. The mapping of skills required on both sides of the border and skills development strategies could be supported under the specific objective "Better INTERREG governance" as well as the identification and mapping of actual legal and administrative obstacles by proposing possible solutions.

On 6 December 2019, the services of the European Commission sent the Maritime Orientation Paper (MOP) Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean area to the Authorities of the INTERREG V-A Italia-Malta programme relating to the reprogramming activities for the period 2021-2027 of the cooperation programmes existing cross-border borders in the Mediterranean Sea. The European Commission has sought to promote a more territorial approach to future Interreg programmes, highlighting how cooperation around sea-basins needs to reflect the specific territorial features of these areas and their overwhelming maritime dimension. Many of the important challenges faced by Member States and regions around the Mediterranean call for action to address environmental challenges at sea and in coastal areas, accessibility and connectivity should not be tackled in a fragmented way. This document presents an analysis of the Italia-Malta cross-border area from a socio-economic, cultural and institutional point of view and offers food for thought (guidelines) with reference to growth, competitiveness and connectivity, green economy, work, education, health and inclusion.

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