The province of Utrecht also cooperates in Brussels with regions from other EU member states. Utrecht, along with the other three Randstad provinces, participates in two thematic European networks: the Peri -Urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE) and the Air-Quality Initiative of Regions (AIR). PURPLE is a network of urbanised regions whose regional landscapes are under increasing pressure. AIR is a network of 12 highly urbanised and large regions who would like to improve the air quality. The objective is to insert the regional perspective in the revision of the European Directive on Air Quality in 2013.Besides the Province is a member of ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network) and a member of ENCORE (Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe).
Partner regions and projects
The province of Utrecht has signed a friendship treaty with the region of South Moravia in the Czech Republic and is open to co-operation with other European regions. The province enjoys various partnerships with other regions in the fields of:
climate and sustainability;
For advice on European grants, please refer to Agentschap NL and Europa Decentraal. European funding programmes expire after seven years. Regional governments supervise the distribution of funds among cities and regions. The following funds bear relevance to the province of Utrecht:
European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO);
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EFLPO).
Programmes initiated by EFRO
The EFRO Fund promotes: Regional competitive power, employment and co-operation. For the above purposes, the following programmes have been developed.
Kansen voor West (Opportunities for the West)
The Randstad region wants to regain its top-five standing within Europe's metropolitan regions. That is the ambition of the eight authorities in the Randstad region: four provinces (Utrecht, North and South Holland and Flevoland) and the four big cities of the Randstad region (Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam). The ‘Kansen voor West' (Opportunities for the West) programme was developed to help achieve this goal. This collective programme is funded mainly by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO).
An increasing number of agricultural regulations are implemented by Brussels, for example affecting the use of fertilisers. In addition, the EU makes grants available. Several European grants for rural development are distributed via the province:
Plattelandsontwikkelingsprogramma (Rural Development Programme) 2007-2013;
Another way of exchanging information is via Interreg projects. Interreg is an initiative of the European Union meant to stimulate inter-boundary co-operation between cities and regions. Interreg forms a part of the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO). The province of Utrecht participates in two Interreg programmes for inter-regional and transnational co-operation. The Interreg 4B NWE programme responds to spatial challenges and to issues requiring an international or collective solution. ARBOR Biomass for Energy is an example of a project that has received European Regional Development Funding through Intereg 4 B. The Interreg 4C programme seeks to accelerate the sustainable development of the EU.