Archives: January 2010

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24. 01.10:


The annual ICT-Policy Support Programme call for proposals, as mentioned in the December Bulletin last was published on 21 January. ICT-PSP aims to accelerate the development of a competitive, innovative and inclusive information society through the wider uptake and best use of existing ICT focused on areas of public interest. A number of specific areas within one of the 6 designated themes announced - ''ICT for energy efficiency and smart mobility'' - may be of relevance to local authorities.

EUR9.5m is being provided for a number of pilot actions ''pilot Bs'') bringing together stakeholders to implement actions fostering ICT innovation under realistic conditions with the objective (1.2) of ''ICT for energy and water efficiency in social housing''. This might possibly include actions relating to improving energy use efficiencies through smart metering or other ICT components - possibly involving extended use of prototype technology or application of completed research and development work.

EUR0.5m has been set aside for a single transnational stakeholder forum on ''ICT for water efficiency'' (objective 1.2).
Objective 1.3 - ''Energy efficient co-operative transport management systems'' - offers EUR4m towards several pilot actions leading to a set of specifications for cities for the procurement, testing, installation, operation and monitoring of state of the art cooperative traffic management systems and services to improve both safety and energy efficiency.

More information

22. 01.10:

Paper on future of Cohesion Policy in richer regions

DG Regional Policy has produced a working paper focused on the future of Cohesion Policy in richer regions. The Paper reviews two distinct issues: 1) whether richer regions, particularly those from relatively prosperous Member States, should be eligible for expenditure from the Structural Funds at all,; and 2) whether the relative prosperity of the Member State in which the region is located should be taken into account.

The essence of the debate on future Cohesion Policy seems to hinge on whether the policy should be about redistributive transfers between rich and poorer regions, or rather whether it should be an instrument to promote economic change and development and the realising of potential in all regions.

More information>

14. 01.10:


On the same basis that it was pressed into action to help alleviate the effects of the mass redundancies announced last year by DELL, SR Technics and Waterford Crystal, the European Commission is now recommending that the Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) be used in relation to the Lithuanian building construction industry. As with Ireland, construction activity in the Baltic country collapsed during 2009 with small or medium-sized enterprises being hardest hit. Now, subject to approval from the European Parliament, the fund is expected to approve an EU contribution to cover 65% of the costs associated with active labour market measures at individual level to benefit over 800 affected workers. These will include retraining initiatives, self-employment assistance and incentives, and career guidance.

Although details of the application are not yet publically available, this would seem to represent an interesting precedent for EGF in that the proposed intervention would appear to be more in response to the effects of the general economic downturn within national borders than to those of global trade patterns and jobs being relocated to cheaper economies. The application is also on a sector-wide as opposed to single firm (plus suppliers/downstream producers) basis and the threshold for deploying the EGF in this manner in Ireland's case would be 500 redundancies nationally within a single sector, particularly in SMEs, over a period of nine months.

Sectors relating to building construction which would theoretically be similarly eligible for attention on these terms include ''specialised construction activities'', '''civil engineering'', ''architectural and engineering activities'', ''services to buildings and landscape activities'', and ''real estate activities''. Aside from the property market, other hard-hit industries for which an application might be put together by Ireland include ''accommodation'' (hotels etc.), ''retail trade'','''trade and repair of motor vehicles'', and ''public administration''. In this vein, Lithuania is awaiting a judgement on an application on behalf of its furniture manufacturing sector. EUR500 million is being made available each year to finance such interventions.

Programme Guide

11. 01.10:


The CIVITAS initiative and network supports and evaluates the implementation of ambitious integrated sustainable urban transport strategies. Funding opportunities are available under the CIVITAS Activity Fund for smaller projects to promote the concrete up-take of the initiative's general principles and to facilitate the building up of critical mass and markets for innovation.

Two main types of activities are eligible: preparatory and follow-up activities (e.g. studies and events); and staff exchange activities between a hosting city (CIVITAS member city) and that of an applying city (take-up city).

Deadline:16 February
More information

ELENA: European Local ENergy Assistance - more details

The Irish Regions Office has met with Representatives of DG TREN (Transport & Energy) to discuss the new ELENA (European Local ENergy Assistance) facility. This European Commission and the European Investment Bank joint initiative has been created to facilitate the mobilisation of funds for investments in sustainable energy at local level.

Financed through the Intelligent Energy-Europe programme, its annual budget of in the region of EUR15 million will parlt cover the cost of technical support and financial engineering necessary to prepare, implement and finance energy investment programmes or large-scale projects. Eligible actions include feasibility and market studies, structuring of programmes, business plans, energy audits, and preparation for tendering procedures. The objective is to increase experience in developing activities of a certain scale, expected to be above EUR 50 million in value. Small projects can be supported once they are integrated into larger investment programmes.

The following areas may avail of support:
1) public and private buildings, including social housing and street and traffic lighting, to support increased energy efficiency - e.g. refurbishment for decreasing energy consumption;
2) integration of renewable energy sources into the built environment - e.g. solar photovoltaic, solar thermal collectors and biomass;
3) renovation, extension or building new district heating/cooling networks, including networks based on combined heat and power (CHP); decentralised CHP systems (building or neighbourhood level);
4) urban transport to support increased energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy sources, e.g. energy efficiency buses, including hybrid buses, electrical or low-carbon propulsion systems, electric cars, freight logistics in urban areas; and
5) local infrastructure including smart grids, information and communication technology infrastructure for energy efficiency, energy-efficient urban equipment, inter-modal transport facilities and refueling infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles.

No calls for proposals are involved. Applications are to be tabled directly and the funding will be dispersed on a first-come-first-served basis. ELENA supports the EU Covenant of Mayors pledge for local authority energy plans, but it is not restricted to its signatories.

Further information

08. 01.10:


The Commission recently launched the 2010 calls for proposals for the Public Health Programme with an allocated budget of EUR48.4 million. Priorities include:
1) Improving citizen's health security - safety of blood, tissues, cells and organs; and
2) Health promotion – public health capacity building, sexual health and HIV/AIDS and prevention of major chronic diseases and rare diseases.
Approximately 28% of the budget will be spent on best practice projects in public health, with more emphasis and resource allocated to cooperation and joint actions between Member States.

Deadline: 19 March
More information

06. 01.10:

Call: Preparedness for and prevention of disasters

The European Commission's Civil Protection Unit, has launched a call for proposals with the aim of identifying projects on preparedness and prevention.

The Civil Protection Financial Instrument aims to support and complement the efforts of the Member States for the protection, primarily of people but also of the environment and property, including cultural heritage, in the event of natural and man-made disasters as well as acts of terrorism and technological, radiological or environmental accidents. A budget of up to EUR3 million will be available.

The aim of 'preparedness' projects is to improve the effectiveness of emergency response by enhancing levels of preparation and awareness of civil protection professionals and volunteers, by supporting and complementing the efforts of the participating countries, and by facilitating reinforced cooperation between EU Member States in the field of preparedness in civil protection and marine pollution. 'Prevention' projects focus particularly on areas where a common European approach is more effective than separate national approaches.

Deadline: 31 March.

Call: Active citizenship

On 30 December 2009 the European Commission announced that EUR20.4 million will be available for the 2010 call for proposals under the Europe for Citizens programme (2007-2013).

Among the programme-s specific objectives relating to European citizenship and democracy, shared values, common history and culture are:

* Bringing together people from local communities across Europe to share and exchange experiences, opinions and values, to learn from history and to build for the future.

* Bringing Europe closer to its citizens by promoting Europe's values and achievements, while preserving the memory of its past.

* Encouraging interaction between citizens and civil society organisations from all participating countries (particularly between newer and older EU Member States), contributing to intercultural dialogue, and bringing to the fore both Europe's diversity and unity.

The call focuses on the following measures:

* Town twinning activities that involve or promote direct exchanges between European citizens:

- Citizens' meetings (Deadlines: 1 February, 1 June and 1 September; EUR7 million available); and

- Thematic networks. (1 February and 1 September; EUR5.165 million).

* 'Citizens' projects' (EUR1.5 million) and 'Support measures' (EUR1.535 million) to bridge the gap between citizens and the EU by innovatively encouraging citizens' participation and stimulating dialogue with the European institutions (1 June).

* Concrete projects initiated by civil society organisations from different participating countries to raise awareness on matters of European interest and contribute to fostering mutual understanding on different cultures and to identifying common values (15 February; EUR3.4 million).

* Active European Remembrance in memory of the victims of Nazism and Stalinism (30 April; EUR1.8 million).

More information

Call: YOUTH in Action

The annual YOUTH in Action call for proposals, as flagged up here, was published along expected lines on 23 December.

The total budget is EUR115.3 million.

Deadlines depend on the project start date (i.e. 3 months beforehand up to a limit of 1 November)
Programme guide