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Brussels, 18 December 2003

Commission agrees on the structural funds in the Czech Republic for 2004-2006

The European Commission confirmed today that the negotiations on the strategy for the implementation of structural funds in the Czech Republic for the period 2004 to 2006 have been successfully concluded. These negotiations have resulted in an agreement on the priorities for economic and social development strategy for the Czech Republic that will be supported with community funding during the period 2004-2006. The Czech Republic will benefit from Community co-financing of € 1.525 billion during the same period. This strategy covers the priorities and the measures that will be eligible for community co-financing as of 1 January 2004 provided that projects on the ground ensure full compliance with Community legislation in areas such as regional policy, environmental protection, public procurement and financial management and control. The programming documents will only be formally approved upon accession of The Czech Republic on 1 May 2004. Besides the structural funds' programmes, the Cohesion Fund will make an additional € 936 million available for 2004-2006.

In announcing the decision, Michel Barnier, Commissioner for regional policy and institutional reform, stressed the progress made by the Czech Republic in its preparation for the future management and implementation of structural funds programmes. Furthermore, he highlighted "the fruitful and constructive partnership and spirit of cooperation with the Czech Republic in developing the strategy for the structural funds". Mr Barnier also expressed the wish that "this collaboration will continue during the next phase to ensure the efficient and rigorous implementation of the programmes in the Czech Republic". He underlined that the agreement foresees a concentration of resources on several priorities, noting that "it will facilitate the achievement of the overall goals of this strategy, including and increase in GDP and reduction in unemployment. The Czech Republic has now to ensure that all relevant legislation is in force so that the implementation of the programmes can start in January 2004, as provided for in the Treaty of Accession."

The implementation framework is as follows :

  • a Community Support Framework (CSF) for the objective 1 area (the whole country but the Prague region). It will be financed by the four Structural Funds of the EU that are managed under the responsibility of Commissioners Barnier (ERDF), Fischler (EAGGF and FIFG) and Diamantopoulou (ESF). It will amount to €1.454 billion. The strategy adopted will be implemented through a series of five Operational Programmes :

    • operational programme industry and enterprise with a Community contribution of € 261 million;

    • operational programme infrastructure with a Community contribution of € 246 million;

    • operational programme human resources development with a Community contribution of € 319 million;

    • operational programme rural development and multi-functional agriculture with a Community contribution of € 174 million;

    • joint regional operational programme with a Community contribution of € 454 million.

Within these allocations, an amount of €46 million will be made available for technical assistance.

  • a Single Programming Document for the Prague region (objective 2). The funds assigned are as follows:

    • development and transformation of city environment with a Community contribution of € 54 million;

    • building up the future prosperity of the selected area with a Community contribution of € 16 million.

An amount of € 2 million will be made available for technical assistance.


Solidarity among the peoples of the European Union, economic and social progress and reinforced cohesion form part of the Community's overall objectives of "reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions", as laid down in the Treaty establishing the European Communities. The instruments of solidarity, the structural funds and the cohesion fund cover about one third of the EU budget (roughly EUR 36 billion in 2004) and have a major impact on the competitiveness of regions and contribute significantly to improving the living conditions of their citizens, particular in the poorer regions. Most of the funding is spent through multi-annual development programmes, managed jointly by the Commission services, the Member States' and regional authorities. It is to be stressed that the selection of projects to be co-financed by these programmes is the competence of national, regional and local authorities, in application of the subsidiarity principle.

For the period between 2004 and 2006, € 22 billion have been earmarked for all structural instruments in the 10 countries acceding to the EU on the 1 May 2004. The Treaty of Accession provides that the acceding countries may benefit from the eligibility of expenditure under structural funds as of 1 January 2004 where all the conditions laid down in the structural funds and cohesion fund regulations are fulfilled. These conditions concern full compliance with the implementation rules for the structural and cohesion funds, as well as with Community policies and legislation in areas ranging from environmental protection, public procurement, elimination of inequalities, transport policy to competition and state aid.

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