The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are financial tools set up to implement the regional policy of the European Union. They aim to reduce regional disparities in income, wealth and opportunities. Europe's poorer regions receive most of the support, but all European regions are eligible for funding under the policy's various funds and programmes.
• ESI Funds (ESIF) represent the EU's main investment tool and they account for 41% of the total public spending in the Central and Eastern Europe region. The crisis had a profound impact on national and regional budgets, limiting funding for all types of investment. In the EU, public investment was down by approximately 15 % in real terms between 2008 and 2014. As a result, the ESI Funds became much more important in co-financing public investment. In Portugal, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Slovakia – EU funding represents more than 50% of the total public spending.
• We are in the middle of the ESIF implementation phase. All countries are now allocating the money to concrete projects by launching calls for project proposals. Project selection has reached 44 % of the total investment planned for 2014-2020. These projects will be implemented in the next 1-3 years by tendering and deploying the needed services, works and products. In 2018, countries will allocate the remaining budgets in calls for proposals and will implement the vast majority of the projects (tendering and deployment of solutions).
• EU Payments (now at an average of 17% for all EU countries) are expected to further accelerate in 2018.
• ESIF post 2020 discussions will start to intensify in the second part of 2018.
HOW IS THIS RELEVANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
• A variety of ICT, healthcare, R&D, energy, urban development opportunities etc. are expected to be available on the market in 2018. For instance, 245 million EUR will be dedicated to hospital (ambulatories) infrastructure in Romania; almost 60 million EUR will be invested in urban infrastructure in the Slaskie Polish region, while 51 million EUR will be devoted to building a network of regional research centers in Bulgaria.
• Getting access to ESIF intelligence, will enable you to work on business opportunities early – even at the stage of the future calls for proposals preparation.
• Downstream, tendering will intensify in 2018 and 2019, as projects resulting from the calls for proposals advance. You will be able to respond to these tenders with your solutions.
• By getting access to early intel about future ESIF 2020+, you will gain significant competitive advantage on the local and EU markets.