No limit to amount a country can raise from European competitive funds

There is no limit to the funds a country can raise from the European competitive funds, Georghia Solomonidou – Christofidou, Director of Planning at the Directorate for European Programmes has told CNA.

In the framework of the period 2014 – 2020 the EU has allocated about Euros 120 billion for competitive European programmes.

Replying to CNA questions Christofidou says that in the previous period of 2007 – 2013 Cyprus managed to raise Euros 205 million while “the goal for the new period 2014 – 2020 is to absorb Euros 300 million.”

She points out that due to a great demand and a multitude of applications it will be “quite a challenge,” adding that the effort is to raise awareness for businesses and NGOs on the opportunities which arise and also to facilitate Cypriots to submit better applications.

Despite the fact that in absolute numbers Cyprus ranks 26th out of 28 member states, it ranks 5th in relation to its population in absorbing competitive funds for the previous period.

Asked whether there is a limit to the amount a small country such as Cyprus can raise she replies negatively.

“The good thing with competitive (programmes) is that there is no limit to how much each country can absorb,” she notes.

Replying to a question as to what is meant when one refers to competitive EU funds she explains that applications for such funds are made directly to Brussels and that their implementation is also monitored directly from the European Commission.

At the same time she clarifies that individuals cannot apply. Only groups of legal entities from at least three different EU countries, can apply, she explains.

Replying to a question as to the interest Cypriot companies and NGOs have shown for such programmes, she says that there is an upward trend adding however that there are generally more applications from all EU countries, which has kept Cyprus average rate of success lower (12%) than the EU average (16%).

Christofidou also informs of a portal the Directorate General operates through which businesses, research institutions, or NGOs can be kept up to date on all European Commissions open calls, as well as on the structural funds available and government funding opportunities.

“By visiting the portal one can be informed at a glance on the available opportunities,” she says.

Visitors to the site can become members for free and receive emails on the topics they are interested in when calls are out, she adds.

Interested parties can visit the portal at www.fundingprogrammesportal.gov.cy

Replying to a question on the support offered to businesses Christofidou says that the Directorate in cooperation with Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Enterprise Europe Network, has hosted a series of training seminars in all main cities from November 2015 to February 2016, with the participation of 120 businesses.

Right now it is organising a three day workshop for NGOs, as NGOs have shown a greater weakness in successfully applying for competitive funds due to their lack of staff.

The goal, she said, is to organise and host such seminars in a targeted manner and in order to meet specific needs the businesses or the NGOs have.

At the same time she says the Directorate has also hosted seminars for public servants as it is government policy to encourage the public sector to make an effort to raise funds from EU competitive programmes.

Right now there are programmes of the order of Euros 6 million ongoing by government departments she says, adding that Euros 4 million of that constitutes a net European contribution.

At the same time a greater public – private cooperation for such grants is fostered.

Source: Cyprus News Agency