European Union (origin, goals, purpose, EU funds)
INTRODUCTION TO EU FUNDS
Welcome to the world of EU funds.
My name is Kristina Androlić. By profession, I am a university specialist in economics. I graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, and in 2021 completed the postgraduate specialist study Entrepreneurship and EU funds at the University of the North in Varaždin. Two additional educations: Manager of the preparation and implementation of EU projects and Expert in public procurement allow me to deal with my work today. I have been running my own company for more than 7 years, and together with my team, I have worked on the preparation or implementation of more than 150 projects co-financed by EU funds.
The European Union (abbreviation EU) is a unique intergovernmental and supranational community of European states, created as a result of cooperation and integration that began in 1951 between six states (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). It was established on November 1, 1993 with the entry into force of the Treaty on the European Union (Maastricht Treaty). The European Union today has 27 member states. It covers more than four million km², and by the number of inhabitants, 446 million of them, it ranks third in the world, right behind China and India. France is the largest member state by area, while Malta is the smallest.
The history of the European Union can be divided into decades.
From 1945 to 1959, it marked the Peace in Europe and the beginning of cooperation
The sixties were years of economic growth
The seventies were marked by further expansion and the arrival of new members.
As the European Union developed in the 1970s, the entry of new member states, European elections and regional policy to stimulate growth in poorer areas.
The 1980s marked the fall of communism, symbolically, with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The 1990s are also called Europe without borders, and they were marked by additional expansion, the launch of the single market, travel without borders and the introduction of the euro.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the EU continues to expand, and after the first decade, 2010-2019 is followed by a decade of challenges when the EU struggles with the financial crisis.
The beginning of the new decade was marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and, unfortunately, the state of war in the neighbourhood. You can find more about each decade at the links.
The main bodies of the European Union are the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council of the EU. More about each at the attached links.
The European Union has its common goals, namely: to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its citizens, to guarantee freedom, security and justice, sustainable development based on balanced economic growth, to fight against social exclusion and discrimination, to promote scientific and technological progress, strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion, respect the rich cultural and linguistic diversity, establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.
The EU also adopted its own principles, which applicants and beneficiaries of grants must adhere to during the preparation and implementation of projects:
The principle of proportionality ensures that any measure chosen is necessary and fit for its purpose. In particular, during procurement, the criteria for the selection of bids prescribed in the call for bids and later applied during the review and evaluation of bids must be commensurate with the size, nature and complexity of the procurement and the contract resulting from it.
The principle of equal treatment and prohibition of discrimination ensures impartial, objective and complete treatment of all participants in all phases of the project.
The principle of rational and economical spending of funds in the context of price comparison and the current market value of the procurement item, and in relation to the realization of the project’s purposes and the final results and set indicators.
The main policy of the EU is the Cohesion Policy as the basis for connecting EU members.
The new period that started on January 1, 2021, and lasts until the end of 2027 is also called Creative Europe, and includes the following goals:
1) a smarter Europe, by focusing on innovation, digitization, economic transformation and support for small and medium-sized enterprises
2) a greener Europe without carbon, by implementing the Paris Agreement and investing in the energy transition, renewable energy sources and the fight against climate change
3) a more connected Europe, equipped with strategic transport and digital networks
4) a more social Europe, by implementing the European pillar of social rights and supporting quality employment, education, skills acquisition, social inclusion and equal access to health care
5) Bringing Europe closer to citizens, by supporting locally driven strategies and sustainable urban development throughout the EU.
The European Structural Investment Funds in the new multi-annual financial framework include the European Fund for Regional Development, the Cohesion Fund (it can be used by less developed members than the EU average), the European Social Fund Plus, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Internal Security Fund, Instrument for border and visa management and the Asylum and Migration Fund.
In addition to the ESI funds, the Union’s programs are also available to users. Jurisdiction Brussels, and applicants from the entire EU, while the ESI funds are down to the national authorities of the member states. More about the programs at the attached link.
State, units of local i.e. regional self-government, Ministries, state agencies, Associations and civil society organizations. Micro, small, medium and large entrepreneurs, farmers and in some cases even natural persons.
If you have an idea, define your project. A PROJECT consists of activities aimed at achieving clearly defined results within a given time and with a specific budget.
It is a transition from the existing to the desired state and is a temporary activity. It has its beginning and end.
The project also has its limitations, which can be internal or external. External constraints, such as legislation, environmental impact… and internal constraints, resources (location, people, time, money…).
The project consists of activities, goals, time limits and budget.
Project goals need to be well defined, so it is recommended that they be SMART. Which means they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
A Gantt chart is used for time review. Gantt chart of activities or Gantt diagram is a simple and reviewed tool that can easily show project activities and their follow-up/conditionality in the project.
The project cycle consists of several phases: Programming, identification, formulation of the project proposal, evaluation and financing of the project, implementation and monitoring of the project, re-evaluation of what has been done and new programming for a new project.
slide – Thanks for watching.
For those who want to know more, here is the exercise task:
1) Define your project (real or imagined) through the definition of SMART goals you want to achieve.
2) Research and create a list of necessary resources and a project budget to achieve the set goals.