Coal regions one step closer to the European finances crucial for their development
18. 3. 2022
The OP Just Transition Fund closed the list of a total of nine programmes of the new 2021-2027 period, which the Czech Republic has sent to the European Commission for approval. It thus joined the formal process of negotiating cohesion policy programmes aimed at regional development and competitiveness. The approval of the pivotal strategy called the Partnership Agreement is expected during May. Subsequently, the individual programmes will be approved, followed by the announcement of the first round of calls.
"Our priority is to complete the approval of all programmes at Commission level quickly so that applicants can get support as soon as possible. We advocated that the new programmes should focus not only on the development of coal regions, but mainly on helping the local people there to retrain and find new jobs. We also want to repair the damages that the coal industry has done to the environment and the quality of life of local people," said Minister for Regional Development, Ivan Bartoš, while noting that some parameters of the programmes were prepared by the previous government and are therefore not optimal. "I would appreciate it if the funds were more targeted at the small and medium-sized enterprises that need them most. It is also important to support the preparation of projects as such, especially in segments where there is not enough money. This should also be considered in the strategy," indicated Bartoš.
In the OP Just Transition Fund, a total of 42.7 billion crowns is prepared for applicants to support the transformation of the former coal regions, i.e. the Karlovy Vary, Moravia-Silesia and Ústí nad Labem regions. The aim of the new programme is to support jobs for employees leaving the coal industry, as well as to repair the harm, which was done to the environment in the past.
As part of the preparation for the 2021-2027 programming period, the Ministry of Regional Development arranged seminars, at which those interested will be guided free of charge through dotation opportunities and new grant sources. The events held in Czech will take place from the end of March to the middle of April in all regional cities.
Operational Programs (OPs) are detailed plans in which Member States set out where EU funds will go during the seven-year programming period. The OPs can be developed for a specific region, or they can have a thematic objective and validity for the whole country. In addition, there are also cross-border and interregional OPs. All programmes for the development of regional competitiveness for the period 2021-2027 are clearly shown on the leaflet. According to the legislation, the final ratification of the programmes must be preceded by the approval of the Partnership Agreement.
The Partnership Agreement (PA) is a treaty prepared for every programming period by each of the Member States in cooperation with the European Commission. It sets out the strategy and investment priorities for which the Member State concerned has decided and lists the national and regional operational OPs it wishes to implement, including their allocations. The preparation of PA in the Czech Republic is coordinated by the Ministry of Regional Development. The approved document is the result of negotiations with number of partners - regions, municipalities, governing bodies and representatives from the non-profit or academic spheres. The PA for the 2021-2027 programming period was submitted by the Ministry of Regional Development to the European Commission on 16 December last year, after being approved by the government at the national level.