The Cohesion Policy Operational Programs 2014-2020 are programming documents setting out specific priorities and indicative interventions to be co-financed by the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds in the 2014-2020 period, contributing to the strategic objective of the Partnership Agreement of restructuring the Cyprus economy, preserving and creating new jobs and securing social cohesion. Following negotiations at EU level, an amount of €788 mln has been allocated to Cyprus from the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative. Information regarding the Partnership Agreement and the Operational Programs for Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 is provided below.
- PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
A total amount of €955mln is allocated to Cyprus for the 2014-2020 programming period from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), as follows: Structural Funds, Cohesion Fund and Youth Employment Initiative: € 788 mln. European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: € 132 mln. European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: € 35 mln.
Strategic programming documents have to be prepared by the Republic of Cyprus and submitted to the European Commission for approval, for the utilization of the above resources. The overall responsibility and coordination for the preparation of these documents is vested with the Directorate General for European Programs, Coordination and Development (DG EPCD), within its competence as the National Programming Authority. The first step in the above process, concerns the preparation and submission of a comprehensive strategic document for the utilization of the ESIF, called the Partnership Agreement (PA).
The Partnership Agreement aims at securing the synergy and coordination between the Funds supporting the Cohesion Policy (Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund), the Common Agricultural Policy (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) and the Common Fisheries Policy (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) of the EU, so as to achieve effective results that contribute to the goals of the EU 2020 strategy and, consequently, to growth and job creation in Cyprus. The Cyprus PA sets out its funding priorities under the ESIF for the 2014-2020 period, as derived from the analysis of the country’s development needs and perspectives, as well as the thematic objectives that Cyprus intents to invest into during the 2014-2020 period. The next step is the preparation of the Operational Programs, which will specify in more detail the PA through specific priorities and indicative interventions. The following programs will be prepared:
(a) Two Operational Programs for Cohesion Policy Funds,
(b) The Rural Development Programme, and
(c) The Operational Programme for Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The content of all programming documents is formulated through a constant process of consultation between the DG EPCD and the competent Ministries, Local Authorities, social and economic partners and bodies of the wider public and private sector, as well as with the European Commission.
Based on consultation undertaken so far, the restructuring of the economy, preserving and creating new jobs and securing social cohesion, is defined as the strategic objective of the PA. With the view to achieve this objective, the following three key priorities have been preliminarily determined:
- Supporting the restructuring and strengthening the competitiveness of Cyprus economy,
- Upgrading human resources, promoting employment and social cohesion, and
- Protecting the environment and promoting the efficient use of resources.
The Partnership Agreement has been officially submitted to the European Commission for approval on the 17thApril 2014.
- OPERATIONAL PROGRAMMES FOR COHESION POLICY 2014-2020
For the period 2014-2020, an amount of €788 mln has been allocated to Cyprus for the implementation of the Cohesion Policy. This amount includes, among others, €48,4 mln which will be dedicated to the Connecting Europe Facility, €32,7 mln for the European Territorial Cooperation Programs and €3,9 mln for the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived, for which separate Programs are being prepared.
There will be two Operational Programs for Cohesion Policy, namely the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, which will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF), and the Operational Programme for Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion, which will be co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative.
The Operational Programs for Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 constitute the programming documents which include specific priorities and indicative interventions that will be co-financed by the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund for the period 2014-2020, contributing towards the strategic objective of the Partnership Agreement for the restructuring of the economy, the preservation and creation of new jobs and the safeguarding of social cohesion.
In the framework of the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, with an EU contribution of €561,8 mln, interventions will be promoted for the enhancement of competitiveness of the economy through the promotion of investment in the sectors of Research and Development and Information and Communication Technologies, interventions in the sectors of Environment, Energy and Transport, as well as interventions for the promotion of integrated sustainable urban development in deprived areas.
In the framework of the Operational Programme for Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion, with an EU contribution of €141,1 mln, interventions will be promoted for the promotion of employment, lifelong learning and social cohesion. The intervention of both Operational Programs will include investments of the broader public sector, as well as schemes/incentives addressed to the private sector. The EU co-financing rate will be up to 95% of the total eligible public spending.
At the current stage, the structure of the Cohesion Policy Programs is under preparation and it is expected that they will be officially submitted to the EC by July 2014. The approval of the European Commission is expected by the end of 2014.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE
The Republic of Cyprus is an eligible region for support in the framework of the Youth Employment Initiative of the EU. The eligibility criterion for the Initiative was set as the youth unemployment rate above 25% during the year 2012. In this respect, a special distribution of €11,572,101 (current prices) was allocated, in addition to the funds allocated for the Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. The said amount is frontloaded for the years 2014 and 2015 and is subject to the rule “N+3”, which means that their implementation can be made within three years from the commitment years, i.e. until 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The Youth Employment Initiative will constitute part of the programming for the utilization of funds from the European Social Fund contributing by at least an equal amount from the European Social Fund for this initiative. Within the framework of the Operational Programme that will be co-financed by the European Social Fund 2014-2020, a dedicated Priority Axis is being developed especially for the Youth Employment Initiative.
The Youth Employment Initiative primarily includes interventions which concern the Establishment of the “Youth Guarantee” Council, according to which for each young person aged 15-24, an opportunity for employment, education or training should be offered within a period of 4 months following the day it becomes unemployed or completes / interrupts its education. For this purpose a special Action Plan has been prepared for the implementation of the Recommendation of the “Youth Guarantee”.
Total Budget: €739,896,535 for 2014-2020 (Operational Programs for Cohesion Policy).
Percentage of Subsidy/Co-Financing: Up to 95% of the total cost.
Eligibility for Participation: Central Government, Local Authorities, NGOs, Private Bodies
To read more about this program, click here.