The European Parliament - representing the people of Europe
The Council of the European Union - representing national governments
The European Commission - representing the common EU interest and is responsible for the day to day running of the EU
Moving down a level towards grass roots, the mission of the European Union is to generate "more growth and jobs for all regions and cities in the Union". This grand and well meaning statement is given a structure and framework by the Lisbon Strategy, an EU-wide initiative to strengthen Europe's competitive position in the knowledge based global economy. Essentially, this is all about increased productivity, greater competitiveness and higher performance or in other words, sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs.
The agenda of the Lisbon Strategy filters down to all EU funding programmes so there is greater emphasis for this money to be used for projects that contribute to the above goals.
EU funding at regional level, such as Dumfries and Galloway, is governed by three key objectives:
Under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective, Dumfries and Galloway benefits from two European funding programmes:
European Social Fund (ESF)
The programmes run over a seven year period 2007-2013 and cover the whole of Lowlands and Uplands Scotland. They are administered by East of Scotland European Partnership (East of Scotland European Partnership) on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The ERDF Programme is worth €367m or about £326m depending on current £/€ exchange rates and offers 40% EU funding for projects. It supports four priorities: research and innovation, enterprise growth, urban regeneration and rural development. Dumfries and Galloway is ineligible for the urban regeneration priority but the rural development priority is of particular interest as approximately £19m is reserved for the region and neighbouring Scottish Borders. It is broadly geared to helping rural businesses grow and diversify by identifying new market opportunities and supporting shared services in rural areas which help both businesses and individuals who live there make more of a contribution to the economy. The rural development priority for the South of Scotland is managed locally by the SOSEP which can provide guidance to applicants to help develop project ideas.
Applying for funding is a two stage on-line process held on an annual basis and guided by current eligibility criteria [44kb]. A list of helpful ESEP Frequently Asked Questions is also available on the ESEP website.
The ESF Programme is worth €263m or about £234m depending on current £/€ exchange rates and offers 45% EU funding for projects. It supports three priorities: progressing into employment, progressing through employment and improving access to lifelong learning. Dumfries and Galloway is ineligible for the progressing into employment priority but the remaining priorities are open and geared to improving professional skills and capacities to increase the potential of people to work, develop their skills, access opportunities and progress in their careers thereby leading to a more dynamic, competitive and productive working population.
The ESF Programme has no reserved funding for the region and is administered nationally on a competitive basis by ESEP which can provide guidance to applicants.
Application is again a two stage on-line process held once a year and based on eligibility criteria [44kb].