Window to the East
As part of Eastern Partnership Youth Window of the Youth in Action programme, funding will be provided to projects implemented under Action 2. European Voluntary Service and Action 3.1 – Cooperation with the Neighbouring Partner Countries of the EU. The overall budget for this window is expected to reach EUR 31.5 million for the period 2012-2013, which would be split as follows: EUR 12.5 million for the Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission to provide co-financing for projects to be implemented by beneficiaries coming from EaP countries. The remaining EUR 19 million will be divided between National Agencies of the Youth in Action programme to provide co-financing for proposals submitted by beneficiaries coming from the YiA programme countries. Poland will be awarded EUR 600,000 (more than 330,000 for Action 1 and nearly 280,000 for Action 3.1)
For the first time in the history of Eastern Europe and Caucasus region, such large funds are awarded for the development of international youth cooperation. Also for the first time, there is an opportunity to provide co-financing for proposals submitted directly by organisations from EaP countries, which is a historic prospect for the development of the potential of youth and youth organisations from Eastern Europe and Caucasus
Based on the investigation of needs concerning Eastern Partnership countries conducted by the European Commission, additional priorities for the window have been defined, and will be taken into consideration, along with other priorities of the YiA programme, when assessing the proposals.
Priorities of Eastern Partnership Youth Window of the YiA programme are as follow:
- Projects demonstrating a clear commitment to provide support to young people with fewer opportunities living in rural or deprived urban areas;
- Projects raising awareness about the nature of youth work;
- Projects promoting the sharing of best practices in the sphere of youth work.
Proposals for projects implemented as part of the Window can be submitted within the following deadlines:
- Proposals submitted by organisations from the YiA programme countries can be filed to relevant National Agencies until February 1, May 1, October 1 (projects may commence no sooner than three months after submitting the proposals).
- Organisations from EaP countries will be allowed to submit proposals to the Executive Agency in Brussels until February 1, June 1, and September 1 (projects may commence no sooner than five months after submitting the proposals). Organisations coming from EaP countries can submit proposals for projects implemented in their relevant countries.
The new initiative does not cover Russia, however organisations intending to cooperate with organisations in Russia can implement projects with the use of funds under Action 3.1. The application procedure is the same for filing applications for Action 2 and 3.1, both for general initiatives and these implemented under the Window.
We hope that new opportunities for cooperation will strengthen the relationship between youth coming from YiA programme and EaP countries. It is a driving force for building a strong partnership with taking into consideration the responsibility for the implementation and progress of projects. So far, only organisations from YiA programme countries could be responsible for administration and financial aspects (filing an application, signing an agreement, making financial settlements). Now, this role can be played by partners coming from Eastern Partnership countries. A large number of organisations from EaP countries, which so far participated in projects under Action 2 and Action 3.1, and had considerable experience, could not coordinate projects in terms of quality aspects or administration. The window provides this opportunity and we hope that in the long run it will contribute not only to better youth cooperation, but also to working together in international labour market, both for participants coming from YiA programme countries and those from Eastern Partnership countries.
The fact that Eastern Partnership Youth Window of the Youth in Action programme has been opened during Polish presidency in the Council of the European Union is a symbolic fact, as it was Poland and Sweden who in May 2008 proposed strengthening the relations with neighbours in the east covered by European Neighbourhood Policy as part of a new initiative EU Eastern Partnership. A year later, during Czech presidency, a new initiative of the European Union called Eastern Partnership was officially announced. The partnership is based on four cooperation platforms, the last of which is people to people contacts, and applies also to youth. Eastern partnership and youth mobility were among the priorities of Polish EU presidency, and you cannot imagine a better crowning achievement of the presidency then the establishment of the Eastern Partnership Youth Window of the Youth in Action programme. We can congratulate the Polish government, the European Commission and ourselves for successful preparations for and implementation of this important initiative. We hope it is only a good start!
Andrij Pavlovych, SALTO Eastern Europe and Caucasus Resource Centre
Dominika Jagiełło, Poland National Agency of the Youth in Action Programme