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EU to invest over €1bn in Cyprus as part of its social cohesion policy


Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, July 12th 2022 à 15:15 | Read 320 times



Cyprus to benefit from funds to promote sustainable fisheries (photo: Karen V Bryan - Creative Commons licence)
Cyprus to benefit from funds to promote sustainable fisheries (photo: Karen V Bryan - Creative Commons licence)
CYPRUS. Following the adoption of the Partnership Agreement, the Single Operational Programme and the Just Transition Plan for Cyprus on Friday 8 July 2022, the European Union (EU) announces that it will invest more than €1bn in the country between 2021 and 2027.

The partnership agreement with Cyprus is the thirteenth to be adopted after those with Greece, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Bulgaria.

The Mediterranean island is the first Member State to have its operational programme for economic, social and territorial cohesion policy approved for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund, the Just Transition Fund (FTJ) and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).

"Cohesion policy investments will strengthen the Cypriot economy and improve the competitiveness and diversification of the local economy, with particular attention to social and environmental challenges", comments Elisa Ferreira. For the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, "the funds mobilised under the cohesion policy will improve the quality of life of Cypriot citizens".
 

Creation of a green technical school in Nicosia

Cyprus will mainly obtain more than €387 million from the ERDF to support investments dedicated to green transition and in line with the Green Deal for Europe. These include projects in the sectors of energy efficiency, renewable energies and the reduction of carbon emissions. But also in the development of the circular and sustainable economy, the preservation of local biodiversity as well as the adaptation to climate change and related events such as floods and forest fires.

147 M€ will contribute to improving competitiveness and developing the digitalisation of SMEs, as well as connecting these companies with the national research and innovation systems.  "Thanks to these investments, the country aims to create more than 2,485 new jobs, including 885 in the field of research and 133,000 new users of digital public services," says an EU press release.

The new FTJ tool will provide a budget of €101 million to accelerate the energy transition and meet the 2030 and 2050 targets. This money will strengthen energy transmission and distribution systems to enable the use of storage technologies and the transition to renewable energy.

In parallel, the JTF will also support measures for small and medium-sized enterprises to facilitate the application of new technologies and increase the use of renewable energy sources. Education and training activities are also planned, culminating in the creation of a green technical school. Located in the capital Nicosia, it will train young people in green technologies and skills, "filling a gap in the existing secondary technical education in the country", says the EU.
 

222 M invested in labour market policies

The European Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will provide €38.3m dedicated to the promotion of sustainable fisheries, restoration and conservation of aquatic biological resources, sustainable aquaculture, development of local coastal fishing communities and implementation of international ocean governance.

"For the Mediterranean Member States, the sustainable development of the blue economy is a crucial issue that needs to be supported. This partnership agreement (...) also proposes alternative solutions for the blue economy," says Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

As for the ESF+, it will invest €222 million in labour market policies and skills development to strengthen social cohesion in this territory. This will be done through financial support (€87m) to large-scale reforms and actions targeting young people and more specifically to improve the adequacy of education and training to the needs of the labour market, to restructure social protection services as well as to fight against social exclusion.

Cyprus aims to increase the employment rate from 74.9% to 80%, increase the annual adult education rate from 44.8% to 61% and reduce poverty among at least 10,000 people.

These measures will affect 3,440 Cypriots seeking employment, while another 1,000 will be able to attend training courses. Some 40 schools will benefit from education and integration measures. In addition, food aid will be distributed to 144 000 children in need.

"The fact that the European Social Fund plus in Cyprus will provide educational support and training to young people and disadvantaged groups to help them enter the labour market is in itself encouraging (...) This funding makes a decisive contribution to improving the living and working conditions of citizens, in line with the European social rights framework," underlines Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.

 



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