COVID-19: How to leverage EU funding opportunities and impact policy
Understanding the relationship between policy and funding today, more than ever, can have a lasting impact on your business. Working with the EU institutions, doing business within the "EU Bubble" has changed drastically since the first signs of the Covid-19 pandemic, shifting priorities and postponing some of the flagship policy initiatives announced by the new European Commission during its first 100 days. The EU along with the rest of the world need to manage an unprecedented crisis. Within the current reality, the way EU funds are being re-directed now and programmed for the future will be a crucial aspect of Europe's recovery. Following the money from policy inception to actual funding – the famous phrase "Show me the Money" uttered by characters in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire has never been more relevant. Member States and European citizens expect a great deal from the EU in terms of financial support.
The European Commission continues to expect the EU's economic output to drop by "between five and ten percent" of GDP because of the coronavirus crisis, as stated recently by the Executive Vice -President Valdis Dombrovskis while at the same time has set ambitious policy objectives in the coming years such as the EU Green Deal. Therefore, EU funding has taken an increasingly central role and there are great expectations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). The way money will be disbursed and the respective financial programmes will have an enormous impact on Europe's economic recovery post Covid-19.
EU leaders are endorsing a €540 billion package of three safety nets for workers, businesses and member states. They called for the package to be operational by 1st of June 2020. They also agreed to work towards establishing a recovery fund. The European Commission should publish a draft proposal for a new long-term budget, including a plan to finance the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis in the coming weeks. First indications from the plan, point to a financing that amounts to as much as €2 trillion.
Having said that, EU funding is structured and predictable when linked to EU policy initiatives and goals. However, the current crisis highlights the need for flexibility and for a better understanding of how funding works and how it can be leveraged. A good example is the use of funds being shifted to support the healthcare sector or how policy and funding have been re-directed in the past to mitigate the migration crisis in Europe. In order to successfully position to unlock funds, it is increasingly important to understand how the actual projects, that have an impact on our everyday lives, are directly linked to the political debates in the capital of Europe. Within the complex EU labyrinth Schuman Associates, since 30 years, continues to assist clients and partners with European policy and funding cycles capturing opportunities and engaging with EU institutions and key stakeholders – following the process from Policy to Funding.
EU funding consultancy has always been a niche sector due to its rather specific and technical nature. Success in Brussels has mainly been driven by the capacity to anticipate trends and to understand the decision making process and the political forces behind it. Schuman Associates, over the years has grown on a twin track EU Funding specialists on one-hand and Government and Public Affairs advisors on the other. Headquartered in Brussels and with a local presence in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain. Featured on the Best in Brussels 2020 report as one of the top consultancies with a specialization on EU funding, Schuman Associates is your trusted partner to navigate through and make the most of EU policies and funding.