Tag Archives: Corina Creţu

New guidance for EU-funded projects

“Helping Member States organise sound tender procedures for EU investments is key to safeguard the EU budget from errors and ensure the maximum impact of each euro the EU spends, for the direct benefit of citizens,” said Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu.

The Commission published new guidance to help national, regional and local public officials dealing with EU funds ensure efficient and transparent public procurement procedures for EU-funded projects.  The guidance, soon available in all languages, covers the process from A to Z, from the preparation and publication of the calls to the selection and evaluation of bids and the contract implementation. As such, it can also be useful outside the scope of EU funds. At each step, the guidance includes tips to avoid mistakes, good practices and useful links and templates. It also explains how to make the most out of the opportunities offered by the revised public procurement directives of 2014, i.e. less red tape and more online procedures to make it easier for small businesses to participate in public tenders and the possibility of introducing new criteria in award decision to choose socially responsible companies and innovative, environment-friendly products. The European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds channel over €450 billion into the EU real economy over the 2014-2020 funding period, half of which is invested through public procurement. An infographic on the guidance and more information on what the Commission does to help Member States improve the way they manage and invest EU funds are available online.

New EU platform for Coal Regions in Transition

 

On Monday 11 December Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy will launch a Platform for Coal Regions in Transition.

 

This Platform is one of the elements of the Coal and Carbon-Intensive Regions in Transition Initiative, a key action from the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package. The aim of the Platform is to assist Member States and regions in their efforts to modernise their economies and prepare them to deal with the structural and technological transition in coal regions. The EU’s commitment to a clean energy transition is irreversible and non-negotiable. In this shift to a modern and clean economy the goal of the Commission is to ensure that no regions are left behind when moving away from an economy driven by fossil fuels. The Platform will facilitate the development long-term strategies in coal and carbon intensive regions to boost the clean energy transition by bringing more focus on social fairness, new skills and financing for the real economy. To this end the Commission will bring together European Union officials, national, regional and local stakeholders involved in the transition to help them foster partnerships and learn from each other’s experiences. The Platform’s activities will initially focus on coal regions,with the aim to expand to carbon-intensive regions in the future. The launch takes place on the eve of the “One Planet Summit” convened by the French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate. At the summit, the Commission will reconfirm its commitment for a forward-looking climate policy and show that the EU is leading the fight against climate change by example and through action. The Platform launch event on Monday in Strasbourg is open to media and will take place at the Hemicycle of the Regional Council of the Grand Est Region in Strasbourg, see full programme. More information is available on the website of the Energy Union and forward-looking climate change policy.

EU support regions on high-tech projects

The Commission is announcing which interregional partnerships will receive tailored support under a new EU-funded pilot action for innovative projects.

 “Regions with matching competitive strengths will be able to bring their projects to a common big table. With the right support from the EU, their good ideas will turn into innovative products, among which you will find the European innovation stars of tomorrow.” Said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu.

The aim of this pilot action is to help these partnerships scale up their projects in priority sectors such as big data, bioeconomy, resource efficiency, advanced manufacturing or cybersecurity.

Following a Commission call for interest launched in September 2017, eight interregional partnerships have been selected, with one or several coordinating regions in the lead:

A partnership involving 8 regions led by Noord-Brabant (NL), Flanders (BE) and Norte (PT) will develop joint projects in the field of 3D printing;
A group of 9 regions led by Flanders (BE) will work together in the bio-economy sector;
Bretagne (FR), together with 3 regions and Estonia, will focus on cybersecurity;
Lombardia (IT) and 7 other regions have chosen the circular economy, and more specifically de- and re-manufacturing, as their speciality;
Toscana (IT), 21 other regions and Estonia will dedicate common efforts to develop new solutions in high-tech farming;
Scotland (UK) and País Vasco (ES) are coordinating a group of 16 regions for joint projects in the field of marine renewable energy. The Norwegian region of Sogn og Fjordane is also associated.
Andalucía (ES) and 5 other regions have defined sustainable buildings as their thematic priority;
Andalucía (ES) and Emilia-Romagna (IT) lead a group of 9 regions who will come up with innovative projects in the fields of traceability and big data in agri-food.

These partnerships will benefit from support from special teams established within the Commission, involving experts from several thematic departments. The experts will provide advice on how to best combine EU funds to finance projects, for example.

In addition to this hands-on support from the Commission, each partnership can benefit from external advisory service up to a value of €200,000 for scale-up and commercialisation activities. The money comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This interregional partnerships pilot is part a new set of actions presented by the Commission in July 2017, in order to take smart specialisation one step further and boost innovation in EU regions, so they can all hold their own in a globalised economy.

URBIS new Urban Investment Support for cities

 

 “We have ambitious objectives for sustainable urban development under the Urban Agenda for the EU and URBIS will help us reach them. Thanks to this initiative, cities will have the support they need to create new opportunities for their inhabitants.” Said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu launching URBIS at the 2017 Cities Forum in Rotterdam.

Cities face particular challenges when it comes to accessing finance. Individual municipal projects, for example in the fields of social inclusion, urban regeneration or energy efficiency, can be too risky or too small for the market. At the same time, funding for integrated urban programmes can also be difficult to access, because they group several small projects across different sectors. Finally, cities can also face borrowing limits.

URBIS intends to help cities tackle these specific issues. It will help them design, plan and implement their investment strategies and projects, with tailor-made technical and financial advice, also on innovative financing options. The objective is to see solid projects get off the ground in the short to medium-term, for example in the field of urban climate actions.

“Cities are more attractive than ever: in three decades 8 out of 10 Europeans will live in a city,” said Vazil Hudák, European Investment Bank Vice-President responsible for advisory and project support in cities and regions. “Towns, cities and regions need finance as well as advice to become smart, modern, green and innovative, and with the help of our pilot project URBIS we can deliver just that.”

Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: “Mayors want to take action and make their cities smarter and more sustainable. On our part, URBIS will make it easier for them to access the investments they need to get this done – through tailor-made advice and leveraging existing funds and assets. Urban innovation needs to be unlocked, get enough scale and be replicated across Europe.”

URBIS will consist of European Investment Bank (EIB) experts from the institution’s different advisory and project services, including EIB staff located across Member States and experts from JASPERS, the independent team specialised in preparing quality EU-funded projects.

Where needed, it would bring on board experts who can explain how to blend EU funds with national and local promotional banks financing and with innovative financing opportunities. For example, such opportunities include impact investments, i.e. investments made into companies or funds with the aim to trigger social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Cities of all sizes in all Member States can apply for URBIS’ support via a web page hosted on the European Investment and Advisory Hub.

Riga: new tram network with EU financial support

“The EU invests for a better quality of life in Riga, with a modern and clean public transport system. Traffic will be smoother, air quality will be better and residents and tourists alike will enjoy a fast ride through the city.” Explained Corina Creţu Commissioner for Regional Policy.

Over €65.5 million from the Cohesion Fund is invested in tram infrastructure development in the Latvian capital, in line with the objectives of the Energy Union’s low-emission mobility strategy. The tram line will directly connect the fast-growing neighbourhood of Skanste, near the city centre, to the main transport hubs in Riga – the central railway station, the coach terminal and the Freeport. In addition to rebuilt or new tram line infrastructure, the EU will co-finance the purchase of 12 tramcars to ensure a minimum service frequency of one car every 10 minutes.