EU funds: 74% of € 660 mln used so far

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Of the 660 mln eu­ros that Cyprus has been al­lo­cated from EU struc­tural funds, the co­he­sion fund and the Euro­pean fish­eries fund, Cyprus has al­ready used 74%, with the rest ex­pected to used in on­go­ing projects end­ing in next year, Fi­nance Mion­is­ter Haris Ge­or­giades dur­ing a pub­lic con­sul­tan­tion on the use of Union funds.

He said the strate­gic goal is to use EU funds to re­struc­ture and en­hance the econ­omy’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, main­tain ex­ist­ing and cre­ate new jobs, en­sure so­cial co­he­sion, pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and put nat­u­ral re­sources to good use.

Ge­or­giades said that more than 3,000 people have ben­e­fited from fund­ing to com­bat un­em­ploy­ment, over 7,000 un­em­ployed people took part in train­ing and work ex­pe­ri­ence pro­grammes, about 870 businesses ben­e­fited from en­trepreneur­ship pro­grammes and more than 1,800 jobs were cre­ated, while 82 busi­ness ben­e­fited from pro­grammes aimed to en­hance tourism and agro­tourism.

Re­fer­ring to the cur­rent fund­ing pro­gram­ming pe­riod of 2014 – 2020, he added that Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades ar­gued for an se­cured 960 mln eu­ros in fresh fund­ing. Cyprus will get 788 mln eu­ros from the co­he­sion funds and the ini­tia­tive for youth em­ploy­ment, 132 mln from the Euro­pean Agri­cul­ture Fund and 40 mln from the mar­itime and fish­eries fund.

Ge­or­giades said there are also great fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from com­pet­i­tive EU funds. For the pe­riod 2007 – 2013 it is es­ti­mated that Cypriot com­pa­nies, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, NGOs and other or­gan­i­sa­tions and ac­tors used 200 mln eu­ros in fund­ing.

He ex­pressed the govern­ment’s readi­ness to lis­ten and adopt any sug­ges­tions which will limit ex­ist­ing prob­lems and will en­sure the best use of EU fund­ing.

On his part, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Direc­torate Gen­eral for Euro­pean Pro­grammes, Co­or­di­na­tion and De­vel­op­ment Ge­orge Ge­or­giou said that documents pro­vid­ing the frame­work for the use of funds for the pe­riod 2014 – 2020 in Cyprus are at a fi­nal stage of prepa­ra­tion.

He added that they are ex­pected to be sub­mit­ted in July for ap­proval by the Cab­i­net and will then be sent to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. “We are hope­ful that at the be­gin­ning of the au­tumn the Com­mis­sion will fi­nalise the documents,” he said, ex­plain­ing that af­ter this stage Cyprus will be able to start im­ple­ment­ing pro­grammes.

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