Definition of EU Competitive Programs
The Competitive Programs are financial tools that contribute to the implementation of the key EU policies. In contrast to the European Structural and Investment Funds, under the Competitive Programmes there is no breakdown by Member State, while funding is based on the quality of the proposals, without any restrictions on the total amount that each Member State can claim and gain. Proposals are submitted for approval directly to the European Commission’s competent Services / DGs, without the intervention of the Member States’ Institutions. The Commission evaluates all the proposals submitted by the Member States (that is, on a competitive basis) and after a comparative evaluation successful proposals are selected. As a general rule, these programmes are transnational, which means that the collaboration and participation of partners from more than one Member States is required for the submission and the implementation of the proposal, in order for proposals to promote both national and transnational objectives, while generating at the same time added value at European level.
Allocation of €120 billion over the period 2014-2020
Through the Competitive Programs EU will allocate for the Programming Period 2014-2020 a total of € 120 billion from its budget, in order to finance activities that will contribute to the achievement of the key policies for smart, sustainable and social development.
Objective: the absorption of €300 million
From the funds that are available via the Competitive Programs (€ 120 billion) Cyprus has set a target to absorb around € 300 m for the programming period 2014-2020, compared to €205 m absorbed during the period 2007 -2013.
DG EPCD: Coordinating Role
The Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (DG EPCD) after the Council of Ministers decision (no 75.141 and date. 24.05.2013) was assigned the coordination of activities and the dissemination of information to the citizens, for greater utilization of available funds from European Competitive Programs. The ultimate goal is to maximize the absorption of these funds. In this effort, there is a close cooperation between the National Contact Points (NCPs) of each program and DG EPCD.
The Information Portal for Funding Programmes
In order to promote direct and reliable information, the DG EPCD established and operated in March 2014 the Information Portal http://www.fundingprogrammesportal.gov.cy. The objective of the Information Portal is to facilitate the interested citizen as well as organizations to identify and utilize the appropriate funding opportunity from the European and National programs and consequently stimulate growth and job creation.
In the context of ongoing efforts to improve its services to the stakeholders, the DG EPCD proceeded in 2017 to redesign and upgrade the Information Portal in order to better respond to the modern needs of the users and to provide them with even more comprehensive information.
All Information through a portal
The Information Portal is a user-friendly central information point, for all programs funded by European and/or National funds. Through the Portal citizens can immediately identify the funding program and/or the call of the area of their interest, such as Employment, SMEs and Competitiveness, Environment, Energy, Education, Culture, Research, Youth, Rural Development etc.
The portal is linked to specific websites of the various programmes and schemes in the European Union and in Cyprus, where citizens can access further information and documentation, as well as to the call for proposals of their interest. Additionally, they can find information on the Contact Points and the Contact details of the competent authorities for publishing the calls / coordinating each programme at National and/or European level.
In addition, through the Portal’s Calendar, stakeholders can be informed of events organized by DG EPCD, National Contact Points and other competent bodies with regards to Financial Programmes and Instruments.
With the Portal’s upgrading in 2017, Financial Instruments available for use by entities in Cyprus, either through intermediary bodies at national level (e.g. banks) either at EU level or by other Member State institutions, were added in the categories of Financial Programmes, in addition to the EU Competitive, Co-financed and National Programmes.
Weekly email alerts to users/ Help Desk/ Facebook
At the same time, the interested citizen or organization can register for free as a member in order to be notified directly via email (email alerts) when a new program or call is uploaded on the website for the thematic area/areas of their interest.
The citizen can also contact the responsible officers of the DG EPCD either by phone (22602942, 22602935, 22602866, 22602867, 22602895), or via email to email@example.com .
Important news in areas related to the Financial Programmes (e.g. events, training, Calls) are also posted on the new Facebook page of the Portal (@fundingportalCY).
Furthermore, in the context of raising awareness about the Competitive Programmes, the DG EPCD has undertaken additional actions, such as:
• Organization of trainings and informative seminars / workshops for public officers, in relation to the preparation of competitive proposals and management of successful projects / schemes.
• Organization of targeted training seminars for companies, NGOs and other beneficiaries from the private or the wider public sector (e.g. for the preparation of proposals, project management – progress reports, budget preparation and management, establishment of consortium – finding project partners etc.).
• Organization of seminars for the presentation of funding opportunities to SMEs, public and private organizations, NGOs for the utilization of Competitive Programs.
• Promoting the Information Portal through the traditional media (magazines, TV, radio) and the social media.
• Preparation and distribution of the publication «Competitive European Programmes Guide». The Guide describes in detail the main EU Competitive Programs, includes the national contact points and EU websites that provide more information, such as application guides and application forms.
•Preparation of the publication “Showcase of Cyprus Success Stories”. The purpose of the publication is to encourage and assist more Cypriot organisations to pursue funding through the Competitive Programmes of EU.
Coordination with the National Contact Points and Coordinators of the of the Ministries
Additionally, regular meetings take place with the National Contact Points for each Programme and the Coordinators of the competent Ministries / Services for sharing information and coordination of activities and actions promoted, in order to create synergies for maximizing the utilization of EU Competitive Programs.
Circular letter to government services
As part of its coordinating role DG EPCD in cooperation with the relative services has made an effort to solve some problems that the Central Government Services are facing regarding their participation at the EU Competitive programs. As a result, DG EPCD issued a celular letter on 2 of February that includes the arrangements decided and relate, amongst other, to accounting arrangements and recruitment of staff in order to facilitate the government departments to participate to EU Competitive Programs as well as an incentive Scheme.
The Council of Ministers adopted a decision (no 79.610 and date 22.10.2015), regarding the Financial Incentives Plan to public servants of the Central Government involved in projects / schemes incurred by all the EU Competitive Programs. The proposal was submitted by DG EPCD and it must be noted that this Plan is an extension of the Plan applied earlier for the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) for Research and Technological Development.