Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps more inclusive

The Commission has adopted a framework to increase the inclusiveness and diversity of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes for the period 2021-2027. The measures deliver on the commitment by President von der Leyen’s Commission to substantially reinforce both programmes, not only by allowing many more people to learn or volunteer in another country, but in particular by reaching out to increasing numbers of people with fewer opportunities.

With today’s framework of inclusion measures, the Commission gives a strong boost to improve equity and inclusion in the European Education Area and lives up to the promise in the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which provides that everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning.

Second call for large-scale projects

Brussels has launched a new call for proposals that will allow European countries to pool resources to develop large-scale actions. The funds for the development of these large-scale projects come from the Innovation Fund. The call is open to projects from all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway until 3 March 2022.

The European Commission’s Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest demonstration programmes for cutting-edge technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage and carbon capture, use and storage. Its allocated budget is EUR 1.5 billion.

The evaluation criteria for projects are: potential to avoid greenhouse gas emissions; innovation potential; financial and technical maturity; potential for scaling up and cost-effectiveness.

Projects that are promising but not sufficiently mature to receive a grant will be eligible for development assistance from the European Investment Bank.

2022 Commission Work Programme

The Commission adopted its 2022 Work Programme, setting out the next steps in its bold and transformative agenda towards a post-COVID-19 Europe that is greener, fairer, more digital and more resilient. This Commission Work Programme contains 42 new policy initiatives across all six headline ambitions of President von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines, building on her 2021 State of the Union speech. It also reflects the lessons learnt from the unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic, while paying particular attention to our young generation thanks to the proposed European Year of Youth 2022.

€237 million in loans to support 20,000 European micro-enterprises

The European Commission and the European Investment Fund open up access to finance for microenterprises, mobilising €237 million in loans to support 20,000 European micro-enterprises.

20.000 micro-enterprises will get access to loans worth €237 million under the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Today, the European Investment Fund (EIF), which manages the EaSI guarantee on behalf of the European Commission, and six microfinance institutions are signing guarantee agreements that will open up access to finance for microenterprises. The European Commission will contribute with €17 million to the guarantees signed today, which are expected to result in microloans worth €237 million.

The six guarantee agreements target those who wish to start or further develop their own micro-enterprises, in particular people who have difficulties in entering the job market or in accessing finance.

These first deals, enabling loans contracts to micro-enterprises, will be signed between the EIF and Qredits Microfinanciering (The Netherlands), Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique (France), Microfinance Ireland (Ireland), PerMicro (Italy), Laboral Kutxa/ Caja Laboral Popular (Spain) and Nextebank (Romania), covering six countries and only 5 months after the launch of the EaSI initiative.

In total, the EaSI Guarantee of €96 million is expected to provide a leverage of more than €500 million in loans over the 2014-2020 period in order to promote jobs and growth in Europe for the next 15 years, unlocking a total of 30,800 microloans and 1,000 loans to social enterprises. The €96 million guarantee for microfinance or social finance providers is managed by the EIF on behalf of the European Commission.

The EIF will not provide direct financial support to enterprises but will implement the facility through local financial intermediaries, such as microfinance, social finance and guarantee institutions, as well as banks active across the EU-28 and additional countries participating in the EaSI programme. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee.

Erasmus+ to offer €2.2 billion for education, training, youth and sport projects in 2016

The Commission has today announced that the Erasmus+ programme will provide €2.2 billion in 2016 alone to fund opportunities for nearly 600,000 young people to study, train, volunteer or participate in youth exchanges and projects abroad.

Further opportunities will be available for 200,000 teachers, educators and youth representatives to continue their professional development. In 2016, the Commission is focusing funding from Erasmus+ on supporting projects designed to make education and training systems more inclusive, address the growing diversity of classrooms across Europe and help tackle the risks of youth radicalisation.

Marking the third year of the Erasmus+ Programme, today’s publication of the 2016 general call for proposals and the accompanying Programme Guide will enable institutions and individuals to start preparing to submit their project proposals, which will be selected according to competitive selection procedures.

Promoting social inclusion is also one of the topics discussed at the two day “Education, Training and Youth Forum” in Brussels, a yearly gathering of EU and national representatives to share policy experiences and exchange best practices in these fields.

7.6 billion of European investment to support key transport projects

 

The Commissioconectar-europa-n is launching the second call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility, with more than €7.6 billion of investment to finance transport projects. €6.5 billion are earmarked for countries with Cohesion Fund eligibility.

As team Juncker enters its second year in office, today the European Commission is taking further action to stimulate investment in Europe by launching the second call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) endowed with more than €7.6 billion to finance key transport projects. €6.5 billion are earmarked for projects in Member States eligible to the EU Cohesion Fund,  in order to better integrate these countries into the internal market.

In order to achieve synergies with other Commission’s priorities such as the Digital Single Market, this year’s Call for proposal has a special focus on innovative transport. Under the general envelope (€1.1 billion, available to all 28 Member States), sought projects will include Intelligent Transport Systems or traffic management systems such as ERTMS (rail), SESAR (air) or RIS (waterways). The “cohesion” envelope (€6.5 billion, available to 15 Member States) will add to these priorities key infrastructure projects in sustainable transport modes such as rail and inland waterways. This is part and parcel of the Commission’s priority to create an Energy-Union with a forward-looking climate policy.

Support will be granted on a competitive basis in the form of EU co-financing, following a thorough evaluation and selection process. Applicants have until 16 February 2016 to submit their proposals. The outcome of the calls will be published by summer 2016.

FAST TRACK TO INNOVATION, fast lanes for innovation

The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot is a fully-bottom-up measure in Horizon 2020 to promote close-to-the-market innovation activities.

Open since January 2015, the Fast Track to Innovation scheme is open to proposals in any area of technology and provides funding for close-to-market, business-driven projects.

The idea is to support small international consortia (3-5 organisations) which have new products and services in the final stages of development and need investment to get ready for market deployment.

The aim is to reduce time from idea to market, stimulate the participation of first-time applicants to EU research funding and increase private sector investment in research and innovation. Interdisciplinary or cross-sectoral projects are encouraged.

A total budget of EUR 100 million is available for 2016. The budget available will be divided equally between each cut-off date: 15th of March, 1st of June and 25th of October. The maximum EU contribution per project is EUR 3 million.

If you have an innovative idea, contact the Europa Innovación team. We will help you to prepare the project that  facilitates the prompt entry of your innovative product on the market.

Horizon 2020 priorities for the period 2016-2017

Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), has recently launched its Work Programme for the year 2016-2017 with three priorities:

  • Excellent Science:

European Research Council (ERC); Future and Emerging Technologies (FET); Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Research Infrastructures.

  • Industrial Leadership:

Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEIT): Information and: Communication Technologies; Nanotechnologies; Advanced materials; Biotechnology; Advanced manufacturing and processing; and Space.

Access to risk finance

Innovation in SMEs

  • Societal Challenges:

Health, demographic change and wellbeing; Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry; Marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies; Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens; spreading excellence and widening participation and science with and for Society.

This Horizon 2020 work programme is complemented by the separate work programmes for the European Research Council, Euratom, the Joint Research Centre and the Strategic Innovation Agenda for the European Institute of Innovation and technology (EIT).

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

All interested in submitting projects within the Horizon 2020 program can be serviced in Europe Innovation for information on the different calls, topics and dates of application and to prepare a good proposal that has the approval of the European Commission .

EU to invest €1 billion in regions along its external borders

The European Commission has adopted a series of cross-border cooperation programmes totalling €1 billion, supporting social and economic development in the regions on both sides of the EU’s external borders.

 This type of cross border cooperation is an important element of the EU policy towards its neighbours. It will prioritise projects supporting sustainable development along the EU’s external borders, thus reducing differences in living standards and addressing common challenges across these borders. For each of the programmes, the participating countries have selected up to four priorities, such as SME development, culture, environment and climate change, fight against poverty, education and research, energy, accessibility, border management.

The new package will finance projects in 27 countries: Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Russia in the east; Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia; EU Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden) as well as Norway and Turkey. The funding comes under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI). Financing agreements will be finalised between the partner countries and the EU by the end of 2016. Grants will be awarded through calls for proposals expected to be launched in the course of 2016 or early 2017.

Creative Europe: support for the development of European Videogames

Creative Europe, the European Commission’s framework programme for support to the culture and audiovisual sectors, opens a call for proposals for narrative storytelling video games regardless of platform or expected distribution method. In all cases the video game must be intended for commercial exploitation.

The total budget available is 2.6 M €. The financial contribution awarded will in no event exceed 50% of the total eligible costs submitted by the applicant and the amount dedicated to each project will be between EUR 10.000 and EUR 150.000.

Thus, the call for proposals is aimed at European video game production companies which have been legally constituted for at least 12 months prior to the submission date and that can demonstrate a recent success.

Applications must be submitted to the Executive Agency (EACEA) using the online application form (eForm) no later than 03/03/2016 at 12.00 noon.

For further information, please contact the Europa Innovación team.