* 870 businesses benefited, 1,800 jobs created, says Georgiades *
Of the 660 mln euros that Cyprus has been allocated from EU structural funds, the cohesion fund and the European fisheries fund, Cyprus has already used 74%, with the rest expected to used in ongoing projects ending in next year, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said during a public consultantion on the use of Union funds.
He said the strategic goal is to use EU funds to restructure and enhance the economy’s competitiveness, maintain existing and create new jobs, ensure social cohesion, protect the environment and put natural resources to good use.
Georgiades said that more than 3,000 people have benefited from funding to combat unemployment, over 7,000 unemployed people took part in training and work experience programmes, about 870 businesses benefited from entrepreneurship programmes and more than 1,800 jobs were created, while 82 business benefited from programmes aimed to enhance tourism and agrotourism.
Referring to the current funding programming period of 2014 – 2020, he added that President Nicos Anastasiades argued for an secured 960 mln euros in fresh funding. Cyprus will get 788 mln euros from the cohesion funds and the initiative for youth employment, 132 mln from the European Agriculture Fund and 40 mln from the maritime and fisheries fund.
Georgiades said there are also great funding opportunities from competitive EU funds.
For the period 2007 – 2013 it is estimated that Cypriot companies, local authorities, NGOs and other organisations and actors used 200 mln euros in funding.
He expressed the government’s readiness to listen and adopt any suggestions which will limit existing problems and will ensure the best use of EU funding.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development George Georgiou said that documents providing the framework for the use of funds for the period 2014 – 2020 in Cyprus are at a final stage of preparation.
He added that they are expected to be submitted in July for approval by the Cabinet and will then be sent to the European Commission.
“We are hopeful that at the beginning of the autumn the Commission will finalise the documents,” he said, explaining that after this stage Cyprus will be able to start implementing programmes.
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