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EU Cohesion Policy in Cyprus: negotiations of the Single Programming Documents will start on 16 September in Nicosia

European Commission - IP/03/1250   15/09/2003

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IP/03/1250

Brussels, 15 September 2003

EU Cohesion Policy in Cyprus: negotiations of the Single Programming Documents will start on 16 September in Nicosia

The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with Cyprus on future Structural Funds assistance. Negotiations will start tomorrow in Nicosia. They will aim at finding an agreement on the Single Programming Documents (SPDs) on Objective 2, Objective 3 and Fisheries sector of the Structural Funds for the years 2004 to 2006. These documents contain the strategy and priorities for actions in the field of economic and social conversion of rural and urban areas facing structural difficulties; labour market and human resources policies and the fisheries sector. The Commission's position on how Structural Funds should be used in Cyprus is set out in letters addressed from Mr Barnier, Mrs Diamantopoulou and Mr Fischler to the Cypriot authorities.

In his letter, Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Regional Policy, wrote: “The draft Single Programming Document represents a good basis for the negotiations that lie ahead. I very much share the view that in seeking to close the gaps with the rest of the Union, priority needs to be given to investments in areas that contribute to faster economic growth and job creation. It is very important that the implementation of the European Union's Single Programming Document in Cyprus is a success. Not only because of the country's evident needs, which is the most important consideration, but furthermore because its success would demonstrate the added value of the European Union's intervention”.

Anna Diamantopoulou, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, wrote in her letter: "The draft Single Programming Document submitted by the Cypriot authorities on the 15th of May 2003 constitutes a good starting point for the negotiations that lie ahead and which will lead to the adoption of a final programming document. In this respect, I would like to express my appreciation and that of my services for the work you have done so far”.

Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Fisheries, stated in his letter that “The programming document for Fisheries development in Cyprus is a symbol of a new partnership between the Cypriot authorities and the Commission within the framework of European Union cohesion policy. He also mentions his appreciation for “the effort the Cypriots have made to comply with the recent reform of the CFP(1) and the thereby related amendments in the FIFG(2) regulation”.

More than € 113 million for rural and urban development, modernisation and fostering education, training and development and new support for the fisheries sector

On the basis of the decisions of the Copenhagen European Council last December, € 59.48 million will be allocated to Cyprus under the EU Structural Funds. In addition to this, some € 54 million would be available under the Cohesion Fund. The EU Structural Funds will be programmed in Cyprus through three different SPDs, i.e. Objective 2, 3 and Fisheries SPD.

More than € 28 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money will be allocated under Objective 2 for the promotion of economic development of selected rural and urban areas in Cyprus. The population benefiting from Objective 2 represents 31% of the overall Cyprus population. Objective 2 is devoted to supporting the economic and social conversion of areas facing structural difficulties.

Around € 22 million will be allocated under Objective 3 to support the adaptation and modernisation of policies and systems of education, training and employment. Considering Cyprus's relatively advanced state of development, the European Social Fund (ESF) under objective 3 will be asked to play an important role in strengthening active and preventive labour market policies to promote employment through the modernisation of the Public Employment Services. ESF assistance will also be granted in support of the necessary improvements in the design and enhancement of the education and training systems for the development of human capital and life-long learning. The Structural Funds will also play an important role in supporting the integration into the labour market of the most disadvantaged people as well as the gender equality strategy that cuts across all priorities of the draft programming document. Particular account will also be given to the information society with a view to ensuring an increasing integration of the knowledge-based society and economy.

In addition, Cyprus will benefit from € 4.2 million under the Interreg Community Initiative and € 1.8 million under the Equal Community Initiative.

Cyprus will have also a separate Fisheries programme with an allocation of € 3.4 million based on the decision of the Copenhagen Council. The Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) funding will target the entire fisheries sector with measures on the fishing fleet, aquaculture, fish processing and marketing, and fishing ports.

Background

The Structural Funds comprise four individual Funds: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) -Guidance Section, and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). Cyprus will benefit from the ERDF, ESF and FIFG only, which will contribute to the financing of the Objective 2, Objective 3 and Fisheries SDP. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will support projects in the fields of environment and transport infrastructure projects.

According to Protocol X of the Accession Treaty, “The application of the “acquis” shall be suspended in those areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control(Art. 1.1) and “In the event of a settlement, the Council, acting unanimously on the basis of a proposal from the Commission, shall decide on the adaptations to the terms concerning the accession of Cyprus to the European Union with regard to the Turkish Cypriot Community (Art. 4).

For more information, please consult the following websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/policy_en.htm

(1)CFP = Common Fisheries Policy

(2)FIFG = Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance


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