NCVO: Proposals for EU Structural Fund is a ‘major opportunity’ for the sector
Civil Society, by Vibeka Mair
The European Commission’s new consultation on its EU Structural Fund represents a major opportunity for the sector, says NCVO, who is urging civil society organisations to contribute.
According to NCVO, approximately £430m has been allocated to civil society organisations from the EU Structural Fund (ESF) other the last three years.
The direction for the ESF from 2014-2020 is currently under consultation with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on behalf of England.
Scotland and Northern Ireland will be making their own consultation arrangements.
Sandra Turner, NCVO’s ESF manager, said the BIS consultation has opportunities for civil society to have a bigger role in European programmes:
‘‘We believe that these proposals contain major opportunities for civil society to have a bigger role in the design and implementation of European programmes; including options for local delivery through community-led development initiatives and other place-based interventions; the possibility to use volunteer time as match funding in kind and simplified cost options," she said.
"We are calling for input from all civil society organisations – voluntary and community groups, charities, non-government organisations, wider social enterprise networks and individuals involved in EU funding – to feed into our response."
The BIS consultation will look at how the new round of the four funds in England (European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) can best be used to support the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth.
As part of the consultation, NCVO will hold a free event on the new programme on 27 April 2012, which will include stakeholders from the European Commission, European Parliament, BIS, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Deparment for Communities and Local Government.
The purpose of the EU Structural Funds Programme is to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion across the European Union. This is achieved by developing the infrastructure of regions, helping the unemployed back into work and developing the skills of the workforce.