Following negotiations at EU level, an amount of €784mln has been allocated to Cyprus from the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative. The Cohesion Policy Operational Programmes 2014-2020 are multiannual 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 set in the Partnership Agreement for restructuring the Cyprus economy, preserving and creating new jobs and securing social cohesion.
More information regarding the Partnership Agreement and the Operational Programmes for the Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 is provided below.
1. PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
A total amount of €956mln has been allocated to Cyprus for the Programming Period 2014-2020 from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), as follows:
Structural Funds, Cohesion Fund and Youth Employment Initiative: € 784mln.
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: € 132,2 mln.
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: € 39,7 mln.
For the effective utilisation of the above-mentioned resources, the Republic of Cyprus prepared strategic programming documents and submitted them to the European Commission for approval. The Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (DG EPCD), within its competence as the National Programming Authority, has assumed the overall responsibility for the coordination and preparation of these documents.
The content of all programming documents was formulated through a constant process of cooperation and 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.
The first step in the above process concerned the preparation and submission to European Commission of a comprehensive strategic document for the utilisation of the ESI Funds, called the Partnership Agreement (PA).
The PA 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 will 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 selected to invest into during the 2014-2020 period.
The strategic objective of the PA is the restructuring of the economy, the preservation and creation of new jobs and safeguarding of social cohesion. This objective will be attained through the following three key priorities:
- Supporting the restructuring and strengthening the competitiveness of Cyprus economy,
- Upgrading human resources, promoting employment and social cohesion, and
- Protecting the environmentand promoting the efficient use of resources.
At the same time, the promotion of sustainable local development constitutes a horizontal priority.
The Partnership Agreement was approved by a European Commission’s Implementing Decision on 20th June 2014, followed by an amending decision on 30th September 2014.
The next step was the preparation of the Operational Programmes, which will specify in more detail the PAthrough specific priorities and indicative interventions. These programmes are:
(a) The Operational Programme for "Competitiveness and Sustainable Development",
(b) The Operational Programme for "Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion"
(c) The Rural Development Programme, and
(c) The Operational Programme for "Thalassa".
2. OPERATIONAL PROGRAMMES FOR COHESION POLICY 2014-2020
For the period 2014-2020, an amount of €784mln has been allocated to Cyprus for the implementation of the Cohesion Policy. This amount includes, among others, €48,4 mln dedicated to the Connecting Europe Facility and €32,7 mln to European Territorial Cooperation Programmes, for which separate Programmes are being prepared.
There are two Operational Programmes (OPs) for Cohesion Policy, namely the OP for “Competitiveness and Sustainable Development”, which will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF), and the OP for “Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion”, which will be co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative.
The OPs for Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 constitute the programming documents that include specific priorities and indicative categories of interventions, which 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 OP for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, with an EU contribution of €561,8 mln, interventions planned will contribute to the enhancement of economy’s competitiveness through investment in the sectors of Research and Innovation and Information and Communication Technologies and SMEs support. Interventions are also planned in the sectors of Environment, Energy and Transport, as well as for promoting integrated sustainable urban development in deprived areas.
In the framework of the OP for Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion, with an EU contribution of €140,5 mln, interventions planned will contribute to the promotion of employment, the preservation of social cohesion, the improvement of vocational education and training, the promotion and certification of lifelong learning and the enhancement of the administrative capacity of public authorities and stakeholders.
The interventions of both OPs will include investments of the broader public sector, as well as grant schemes/incentives addressed to the private sector.
The co-financing rate for EU Funds is 85% of the total eligible public expenditure, while for the Youth Employment Initiative the co-financing rate is 100%.
The OPs for Cohesion Policy were officially submitted to the European Commission on the 1 August 2014. The OP Competitiveness and Sustainable Development was adopted by the European Commission on 16 December 2014, while the OP Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion has been adopted on the 25th of February of 2015.
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 the youth unemployment rate to be higher than 25% during the year of reference 2012. In this respect, an amount of €11,572,101 (in current prices) was allocated to Cyprus, in addition to the resources 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 constitute part of the programming for the utilization of the European Social Fund resources matched by at least the same amount from the ESF funds for this initiative. Within the framework of the Operational Programme “Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion” 2014-2020, a dedicated Priority Axis has been developed especially for the Youth Employment Initiative.
For the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative, a National Action Plan has been prepared including the revised Action Plan for the implementation of the Recommendation of the “Youth Guarantee”, according to which for each young person aged 15-24, a quality offer for employment, education or training should be provided within a period of 4 months after the day it becomes unemployed or completes/ interrupts its education.
National Contact Point(s)
Managing Authority for the Operational Programmes for Cohesion Policy:
Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (DG EPCD)
General Enquiries Tel. Number: +357 22 602820
(1) Mr. CharisSoteriou
Tel.: +357 22 602875
[OP Competitiveness and Sustainable Development]
(2) Mr. Socrates Melis
Tel.: +357 22 602876
[OP Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion]
Website of Structural Funds in Cyprus