Next2Met Intereg Europe

Project summary

Next2Met is an innovative interregional exchange project which aims to increase the attractiveness – for knowledge, opportunities, and capital – of regions located close to metropolitan areas. The project brings together 6 regional and local actors and 1 Advisory Partner sharing this common challenge and working together to implement policy solutions:

  • Regional Council of Päijät-Häme, Finland
  • Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria, Austria
  • Barcelona Provincial Council, Spain
  • Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, Ireland
  • Podlaskie Voivodship, Poland
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Regional Authority, Germany
  • Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), France

This 3.5 year-long project started on 1 August 2019 and was officially launched in Brussels early September and will last until January 2023.


Compared to capital regions, ‘next to met’ areas are confronted with a lack of tools and critical mass of research, development and innovation, and therefore struggle with keeping experienced small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as highly-qualified people in the region.

Next2Met focuses on these territories surrounding metropolitan areas because they not only offer benefits, but are also bottlenecks to attracting and retaining knowledge, people and capital.

Dr Mike Brennan, EU Affairs Officer participating in the Next2Met Policy Learning Event Panel Discussion on “The Rust Belt of Finland” – Challenges, Actions, Resources, and Digitalisation in Relation of Regional Attraction and Vitality (Finland January 2020)

Overall objective:

In this context, Next2Met aims at improving policy instruments (ERDF Operational Programme and 2 local instruments- for EMRA the policy instrument will be the Regional, Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSES) which guide development at regional and local level) through interregional learning processes in 6 different regions. To achieve this, Next2Met partners will focus on soft digitalisation measures, making sure that public policy supports an increased attractiveness of its territories. Each of those regions will see projects financed which will promote innovation chain involvement and mobilise structural and local funds.

Digitalisation, cooperation and specialisation are the cornerstones that form the basis of regional growth and this project aims to support the regions involved to fully exploit the potential in order to become more attractive “next to met” areas.

What will this project change?

Next2Met project will create a policy framework in participating regions that focuses financial resources and innovation chain activities on promoting regional attractiveness. It will create the conditions to design, develop and commercialise digitalisation products and services that help regional priority sectors to become the unique selling point of these ‘next to met’ areas.

This will be achieved by learning about useful good practices from Next2Met partners which will then be included in 6 action plans that are specifically tailored to each region. These action plans should help policy-makers address the identified needs and transfer available solutions.

Proposed solutions include strengthening capacity of priority sectors (RIS3), using innovation in soft digitalisation measures and ensuring cooperation along the innovation chain, amongst others.



For more information on this project please visit 




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