The European Commission has adopted a partnership agreement for EU structural and investment funds submitted by the Czech Republic. The document, which took three years to negotiate, outlines Czech investment strategy until 2020, and paves the way for the drawing of some 22 billion euros in funds.
The partnership agreement with the European Commission was three years in the making, an essential investment plan for the Czech Republic over the next budget period. As such, it opens the door to more than 20 billion euros to help in numerous areas, such as boosting competitiveness and economic growth, fighting social exclusion, pushing forward environmental projects and tackling unemployment. The Minister for Regional Development and EC Commission candidate Věra Jourová congratulated the team which prepared the document and took part in negotiations with the EC. On Wednesday, she summed up the moment as well as some of the challenges ahead.
“This is a key moment with the agreement being signed by Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The agreement caps a certain stage which was crucial not only for our ministry but for the Czech public. At the same time, it is a start of something new: it allows us to continue and complete negotiations over operational programmes – which will provide funds for concrete projects. Negotiations have begun... not everything, however, will be easy to push through.”
Under the strategic plan, the Czech Republic wants to support innovation and entrepreneurship, placing an emphasis on quality over quantity when it comes to projects. The Deputy Minister for Regional Development Daniel Braun stressed overall the system itself had been improved and tailored more specifically to the country’s needs:
Because the clock is ticking, Minister Jourová has said clearly the Ministry for Regional Development will waste no time in launching a campaign for potential applicants in a little over a month’s time; the campaign will include regional conferences for potential applicants The minister warned that over the last budget period from 2007 – 2013, the Czech Republic fell behind in the drawing of funds, a situation that the ministry would like to avoid this time around.