The European Commission (EC) has adopted Partnership Agreements with six Member States on the 29th October, including the United Kingdom. The UK Partnership agreement allocates €11.8 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for key thematic investments during the period 2014-2020. The UK government is now waiting for a formal response from the European Commission to its Operational Programmes.
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) covers the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The funds are concentrated on a limited number of priorities for a better impact on growth and jobs in the UK: research and innovation, ICT, competitiveness of enterprises and low carbon economy represent more than 80% of the total allocations.
Both the European Commission and the United Kingdom are expecting to increase the number of innovative enterprises, including the number of collaborations between SMEs and academic institutions in the UK. Superfast broadband, low carbon economy, sustainable land management, inactivity levels, higher level training and skills are also within the main targets of the UK Partnership Agreement.
Within the ESI Funds Growth Programme, England is being allocated €3.6 billion of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), €3.3 billion of European Social Fund (ESF), and €3.4 billion for Rural Development.
The ERDF and ESF Operational Programmes, which are breaking down the investment priorities and objectives of the Partnership Agreements into concrete actions, are due to be adopted by the European Commission in the next few months. Applications will then be able to be submitted to the relevant Managing Authorities of the programmes for applying to these funds.