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EU Structural Funds - Essay Example

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European Union (EU) Structural Funds are funds that are allotted by the EU to its Member States to be "used to promote regional development and employment" (Draft National Strategic Reference Framework [DNSRF] 2006, p. 6, 1). The funds are allocated in budgetary cycles of seven years each…
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Download file to see previous pages Indeed, this approach towards collective growth broadly forms the guideline for the distribution of the Funds; especially during the current budgetary cycle (DNSRF 2006, p. 7, 9). The Structural Funds are split into the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) (DNSRF 2006, p. 7, 10), based on the kind of activities they foster - while they are distributed based on 'Objectives'. Objectives are the eligibility criteria drafted by the EU which determine the volume of investment aid that can be assigned to a region. The areas that are eligible for investment aid are identified by the Member States based on the EU's Regional State Aid Guidelines (DNSRF 2006, p. 6, 7). The 2000-2006 programme had three Objectives, namely, Objective 1, Objective 2 and Objective 3, and also a few Community Initiatives like 'Interreg'. The 2007-2013 perspective has three Objectives again, but has the following changes: the Convergence Objective (which replaces Objective 1), to develop those regions with a GDP per Capita below seventy-five percent of the EU average; the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective (which replaces Objectives 2 and 3), to support the more prosperous regions; and the Cooperation Objective (which replaces 'Interreg'), to foster cross-border and trans-national cooperation (DNSRF 2006, p. 7, 11). ...
DF activities include developing infrastructure and environmental sustainability, improving accessibility and connectivity, promoting community regeneration and rural development, promoting and encouraging enterprise, increasing investment in research and development and improving favourable business environment. ESF activities include increasing - and tackling barriers to - employment, improving skills levels of the local workforce, progressing people into sustained employment and progressing people to better-quality and better-paid jobs (DNSRF 2006, pp. 35-36, 44-48).
National Strategic Reference Framework
Each Member State is required to draw up an Assisted Areas Map based on the EU's Regional State Aid Guidelines which establishes the areas that are eligible for investment aid. These areas are provided aid either by the Member State or through the Structural Funds (DNSRF 2006, p. 6, 7). The EU does not fund all the projects of its Member States. It requires them to draw up a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) which not only acts as a reference instrument for the provision of Structural Funds but also ensures that the "Structural Funds spending is consistent with the Community Strategic Guidelines and the Member State's National Reform Programme (NRP) for delivering the Lisbon Agenda." (DNSRF 2006, p. 9, 18). The NSRF includes an "analysis of the Member State's economic strengths and weaknesses and [specifies] the strategy chosen for the [three Objectives] (DNSRF 2006, p. 9, 19). The NSRF thus becomes a key instrument upon which the EU depends, for the distribution of its funds - specifically the Structural Funds. As it needs to illustrate a Member State's strengths and weaknesses, the NSRF contains data from the previous perspectives, thus leading ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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