EU investment in a Smarter and Greener Mediterranean

Article written by Andrea Camilleri, Executive EU Funding at SEM

Published in The Malta Independent

The major target of the EU to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is being supported by around 25% of the EU's budget for 2021-2027. This funding will look to support investment for the European Green Deal targets, with dedicated funds for specific programmes such as the Interreg Euro-Med programme.

With a budget of €294 million, the main aim of the programme is to support the transition towards a, ‘climate-neutral and resilient society: fighting against the impact of global changes on Mediterranean resources, whilst ensuring a sustainable growth and the well-being of citizens’.

The Interreg Euro-Med Programme 2021-2027 covers 69 regions across 14 different countries. Of these, 10 are Mediterranean EU Member States, including Malta. The other countries participate in the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, namely Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia.

The call for Thematic Projects seeks to finance projects focusing on a ‘Smarter and Greener Mediterranean’ – covering two of the three priorities of this funding programme.

The ‘Smarter Mediterranean’ priority of the programme finances projects which aim to improve the innovation of both the public and private sector. Through the increase of research and innovation, solutions can be developed and implemented focusing on a greener and smarter economy.

With the aim of the programme focusing on climate-neutrality, the second priority relevant to the ‘Thematic Projects’ call is entitled Greener Mediterranean and it is one of the programme’s key priorities. Its aim is to create a greener environment for the region.

The current open call addresses three types of projects: study, test and transfer projects. The concept here is that these types of projects complement one another. Study projects will look to conduct research and analysis on new policies and strategies, these will be piloted through test projects while transfer projects will look to share the results and optimise their impact and value.

With the programme focusing on the cooperation of countries and organisations from the Mediterranean region, for a project to be eligible it must include a project partnership of a minimum of five different countries which are part of the 14 countries mentioned previously. The partnership can include a wider variety of different types of organisations, such as public bodies, agencies, NGOs, higher education and research organisations amongst others.

Depending on the project type, the total recommended budget can vary, with study projects capped at €600,000, test projects capped at €3 million whilst transfer projects are capped at €1 million. These amounts are recommended but not mandatory. Applicants submitting projects which will exceed the maximum recommended budget for their category of project must provide strong justifications why the proposed budget is needed for project implementation.

Although the Interreg Euro-MED programme has been available since 2021, under its previous iteration - Interreg-Med - a number of local organisations had benefitted from funding. One of these organisations was the Energy and Water Agency (EWA). Through this programme the EWA implemented three projects, titled “CONSUME-LESS”, “ConsumeLessPlus” and “INCIRCLE”. These projects focused on a number of key challenges and needs faced both locally and the Mediterranean region. This included sustainable use of resources such as water and energy, the impact of waste production in Mediterranean coastal cities and also on having integrated sustainable tourism planning. All projects had a partnership consisting of different Mediterranean countries and in total the projects were awarded over €6 million in funding.

Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) is a government agency which serves as a gateway to EU related services and can facilitate access to information about EU funding opportunities such as the current open call for applications under the Interreg Euro-MED programme.

The call will close on October 27, 2022. Organisations that are interested in applying for this funding call can approach SEM for assistance on understanding the call and also when it comes to the development of their project idea, writing of the application form and also in the implementation of their project

For further information on the Interreg Euro-MED programme or any other matter related to the EU, kindly contact SEM on 2200 3300 or