EU aid and incentives

Most European Union incentives (specifically loans and subsidies) generally supplement aid programs financed by the Spanish Government. Such aid is routed through the Spanish public authorities and institutions, as well as through finance entities, which act as intermediaries between the granting of aid and beneficiary. Accordingly, the related applications for subsidies must be addressed to these entities, save in the case of the direct aid under, inter alia, programs to support research, development and innovation (R&D&I) for which applications must be submitted in the respective calls for proposals issued by the European Commission.

The broad range of instruments at the EU’s disposal includes, most notably the following:


Projects eligible for EIB support are basically those which promote the development of less favored regions and those of common interest to several Member States or benefiting the EU as a whole. They are focused mainly on the following four areas: (I) innovation and skills; (II) small businesses; (III) infrastructures, and (IV) climate and the environment. Additionally, projects aiming at extending and modernizing infrastructure in the health and education sectors may also qualify for EIB support.

The EIB is jointly owned by the EU countries and borrows money on the capital markets. For this reason, loans granted within this framework, for projects that support EU objectives, are not considered funded with money coming from the EU budget.

According to information published by the Bank of Spain, the total amount of funding contributed by the EIB group in 2018 was €64.190 billion (€55.630 billion from the EIB and €10.060 billion from the European Investment Fund)2.

Specifically, the €64.190 billion were allocated to the following objectives:

Innovation and skills €13.5 billion
SMEs €23.3 billion
Infraestructure €12.3 billion
Enviroment €15.2 billion

It is to be noted, in particular, that financing from the EIB in Spain during 2018 amounted to 8.15346 billion euros, making it the country which received the largest amount of funding from the EIB Group during 20183.

On these bases, the EIB has been offering two types of loans:

8.1.1 Global loans (“Intermediated loans”)

Global loans are similar to credit lines granted to financial institutions, which subsequently lend the funds to the final beneficiaries, so that they can make small or medium-scale investments meeting the EIB’s own criteria.

This is the main instrument with which the EIB supports SMEs and MID-CAPs since, by granting loans to banks or other intermediaries, access to funding is provided indirectly to small and medium-scale business initiatives (although there is no reason why loans of this type should not also ultimately benefit large companies, local and national authorities and other public sector entities).

The loans are granted by the EIB to banks or other institutions in all the Member States, which act as intermediaries. These financial intermediaries conduct an analysis of the investment, and of the economic, technical and financial viability of each of the projects. They are responsible for granting the loans for small and medium-scale investments and for the administration of such loans.

Specifically in Spain, global loans are routed mainly through, inter alia, Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), Banco BilbaoVizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Santander, Bankinter, Sabadell, Banco Cooperativo, Kutxabank, Banca March, Laboral Kutxa, La Caixa, Unicaja, Bankia and Banco Popular. There are many different types of loans and credits, with varying maturities, amounts and interest rates, but their general terms can be summarized as follows:

  • Coverage of up to 50% of the overall investment costs and, in certain cases, up to 100% of the investment with a guarantee from the intermediary bank.
  • Grace period: up to three years.
  • Repayment period: to be determined by the financial institution acting as intermediary and the EIB, although it tends to fluctuate between 2 and 15 years.
  • Beneficiaries: local authorities, SMEs (for these purposes, SMEs are deemed to be companies that have less than 250 workers) or MID-CAPs (which have up to 3,000 workers).
  • The amount awarded under a global loan may not exceed €12.5 million, including the possibility of working-capital financing.
  • Free of fees and other charges, except for minor administrative expenses.

Applications must be filed with financial institutions or other intermediaries.

8.1.2 Loans for individual projects (“Project loans”)

The EIB also grants loans for individual projects with a total investment cost above €25 million.

Although the loans can cover up to 50 percent of the total cost, on average, they tend to cover approximately a third.

In general, the following are the main characteristics of these loans:

  • Eligible projects are public or private investments made mainly in the infrastructure, energy efficiency/renewable energies, transport and urban renewal sectors. These loans are nevertheless aimed at financing research and innovation programs and they can, in certain cases, be made to medium -capitalization companies with a maximum of 3,000 employees.
  • The projects for which an application for financing is presented must fulfil the objectives for EIB loans and be rational from the economic, financial, technical and environmental perspectives. The terms of the financing depend on the type of investment and on the guarantees provided by third parties (banks or banking consortia, other financial institutions or the parent company).
  • The loans may cover up to 50 percent of the total cost of the fundable project; on average, however, they tend to cover only a third of such cost.
  • The interest rate may be fixed, variable, reviewable or convertible (meaning that the calculation formula may be changed during the term of the loan, on certain preestablished dates).
  • In some cases, the EIB can apply project evaluation or legal analysis fees, and commitment or non-use fees.
  • Most of the loans made by the Bank are denominated in euros (EUR), although they can also operate in other currencies, such as GBP, USD, JPY, SEK, DKK, CHF, PLN, CZK and HUF, among others.
  • As a general rule, these loans are repaid in half-yearly or yearly instalments. Grace periods may be granted with respect to the repayment of principal throughout the construction period of the project.

Figure 2


Source: https://www.eib.org/attachments/documents/mooc_factsheet_eib_framework_loans_en.pdf

Lastly, an essential role is being played by the EIB in starting up the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), created by the European Commission to help meet the objective of mobilizing at least €315 billion in new investments during the 2015-2017 period. It should be noted in this respect that in September 2016, the European Council began to work on a new proposal aimed at extending the EFSI and bringing the total investment to €500 billion. Given the success of the EFSI, President Juncker, in his 2016 State of the Union speech, presented a proposal to extend its term and its capacity as an additional boost to investment: the so-called “EFSI 2.0”. In this connection, Regulations (EU) 2017/2392 and (EU) 2015/1017 were approved, referring to the extension of the term of the European Fund For Strategic Investments and the introduction of better techniques for this Fund and for the European Investment Advisory Hub, with an investment goal of €500,000 million and an extension of the initial threeyear period (2015-2017) through 2020.

The objectives pursued with this extension and enhancement of the EFSI were: (I) to offer greater transparency; (II) to use most of the financing for sustainable projects; (III) to pay greater attention to small projects; (IV) to improve technical support at local level; and (V) to enhance the business environment of the European Union.

In this context, the Commission promoted the creation of the figure of the national development bank so that, together with the European Investment Bank and private investors, such banks make an effort, based on their supplementary nature, which makes it possible to reach the objective of the European Investment Plan.

In this connection, Spain has made available to the ICO, as the as the Spanish national development bank, €1.5 billion for projects that receive financing from the EFSI. In connection with Spain, more than 110 transactions have been approved and carried out in the context of the EFSI, with approved financing of €8.1 billion and projected investments related to this Fund of €46.2 billion4.

8.2 European Investment Fund (EIF)

The EIF is an EU body which specializes in providing guarantee and venture capital instruments to SMEs for better access to funding.

It uses, for its activities, equity capital or funds provided by the EIB or the European Union, the Member States, or other third parties.

It is neither a lending institution nor does it provide subsidies to enterprises or directly invest in them. All of its work is carried out through banks and other financial intermediaries. Moreover, it ensures the continuity required in the management of EU programs and has accumulated extensive experience in this area.

The EIF was created for purpose of fostering EU objectives, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, employment and regional development. Today, the core mission of the EIF is to provide support to SMEs and grant them access to funding at a time of reduced financing granted by credit institutions. To meet this objective, and according to the needs of each regional market, the EIF designs innovative financial products aimed at its partners.

The work of the EIF can be classed according to the financial products (capital and debt) offered, which include most notably:

  • Venture Capital Products: the EIF invests in venture capital funds that, in turn, provide financing to innovative SMEs.
  • Debt Products: in these cases, the EIF provides security and credit enhancements to financial intermediaries to facilitate the flow of funds from financial institutions to SMEs.
  • Microfinance: the EIF provides financing, security and technical assistance to financial institutions for their microfinance activities.

Indeed, although the EIF mainly uses venture capital instruments as a means of making capital more available to high-growth innovative SMEs, it also offers debt instruments, since it has been found that many SMEs seek financing through this more traditional route. From this standpoint, the EIF offers security and credit enhancements by means of the securitization of credit, in order to improve the lending capacity of financial intermediaries and, as a result, and ultimately, the availability and terms of the debt for the SME beneficiaries.

The forecast volume of investment from the EIF, in September 2018, amounted to approximately €75 billion5 .

The following table summarizes the main instruments and initiatives promoted by the EIF and the potential beneficiaries there of: Table 16.

Table 16

Source: https://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/es/index.htm 

  • BBVA
  • Loans
  • SMEs
  • EFSI
  • Bankia
  • Bankinter
  • Banco Popular Español
  • Banco Sabadell
  • Banco Santander
  • CaixaBank
  • Cajas Rurales
  • Liberbank
  • Loans
  • SMEs
  • SME Initiative Spain
  • Inbereay
  • LABORAL Kutxa
  • CaixaBank
  • Loans
  • Innovative SMEs and small Mid-Caps
  • EFSI
  • InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility
  • Loans
  • SMEs
  • EFSI
  • COSME-Loan Guarantee Facility
  • Bankinter
  • Loans
  • Innovative SMEs and small Mid-Caps
  • InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility
  • Loans
  • MSMEs in the cultural & creative sectors
  • CCS
  • Bankinter
  • Deutsche Bank Spain
  • Loans
  • Innovative SMEs and small Mid-Caps
  • Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI)
  • Microbank
  • Loans
  • Social-enterprises
  • EaSI
  • Microbank
  • Loans
  • Mobile Master Students
  • Erasmus+ Master Loan Guarantee Facility
  • Cajas Rurales Unidas
  • Cajamar Cooperative Group
  • Colonya Caixa Pollenca
  • Fundaciò Pinnae
  • Laboral Kutxa/ Caja Laboral Popular (ES)
  • Micro-Lans
  • Micro-enterprises including individuals
  • Progress Microfinance
  • Laboral Kutxa/ Caja Laboral Popular
  • Banco Popular Español
  • Colonya Caixa d’Estalvis de Pollenca
  • Soria Futuro, PLC
  • Micro-Lans
  • Micro-enterprises including individuals
  • EaSI
  • Triodos Bank
  • Loans
  • Social-enterprises
  • EaSI


8.3.1 European policy for 2014-2020

In line with the “Europe 2020 Strategy”, while all regions contribute to the general goal by investing in jobs and growth, the methods and scope of the intervention differ according to the level of economic development of each of them, settling down three categories for such purpose. Based on this premise, regions are divided for this purpose into three different categories.

  • The first category relates to “less developed” regions. Based on figures previous to the entry of Croatia in July 2013, whose GDP per capita is less than 75 % of the average GDP of the EU-276 , which remain an important priority for EU cohesion policy. The community co-financing rate for this group is capped at 75%-85% (Table 17).

Table 17


2007 – 2013 2014 – 2020
NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita is less than 75% of the EU average. No change.
Transitional support for regions which would have remained eligible for the onvergence objective if the threshold remained 75% of the average GDP of EU-15 and not of EU-25. Separate category for transition regions.
Cohesion Fund: Member States whose GNI per capita is less than 90% of the average GNI of EU-27. No change.
Transitional support to Member States who would have been eligible for the Cohesion Fund if the threshold remained 90% of the average GNI of U-15 and not of EU-27. Transitional support to Member States eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund in 2013, but whose GNI per capita exceeds 90% of the average GNI per capita of the EU-27.
  • The second category comprises the “transition” regions, which are those whose GDP per capita falls between 75% and 90% of the EU average. In this case, the community co-financing can reach up to 60%; (Table 18).

Table 18


2007 – 2013 2014 – 2020
Transitional support for NUTS 2 regions which would have been eligible for the convergence objective if the threshold remained 75% of the average GDP of EU-15 and not of EU-25 (Convergence phasing-out). NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita is between 75% and 90% of the average GDP of EU-27 with a differentiated treatment for regions which are eligible under the Convergence objective in 2007-2013.
Transitional support for NUTS 2 regions which were covered by Objective 1 in 2000-2006 but whose GDP exceed 75% of EU-15 GDP average (RCE phasing-in).
  • The last are the “more developed” regions, whose GDP per capita is more than 90% of the average. The cofinancing rate may not exceed 50%.

Within this framework, the budget established in the Community cohesion policy is distributed as follows in Chart 2.



Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/panorama/pdf/mag40/mag40_es.pdf

Chart 2

COHESION POLICY FUNDING 2014-2020Source: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/informat/basic/basic_2014_es.pdf 

By country, the budget for the 2014-2010 period is distributed as follows in Charts 3 and 4.

Chart 3


Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/es/funding/available-budget/

Chart 4

Source:   https://cohesiondata.ec.europa.eu/dataset/Financial-allocations-2014-2020-Available-Budget-b/upfh-jcep

8.3.2 Common provisions on the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds)

Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of 17 December lays down common provisions applicable to all of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund, EAFRD and EMFF) and general provisions applicable to some of them, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the ESI Funds and their coordination with one another and with other EU instruments, notwithstanding the specific rules regulating each Fund and which are set out below.

The purpose of this Regulation is to improve the coordination and harmonize the execution of the Structural Investment Funds (ESI Funds) to ensure “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” focused on the attainment of eleven thematic objectives:

1. Strengthening research, technological development and innovation;

2. Enhancing access to, and use and quality of ICT;

3. Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs, of the agricultural sector (for the EAFRD) and of the fishery and aquaculture sector (for the EMFF);

4. Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors;

5. Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management;

6. Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency;

7. Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks;

8. Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labor mobility;

9. Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination;

10. Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning;

11. Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration.

To this end, a Common Strategic Framework (CSF) is created (which can be reviewed by the Commission where there are major changes in the social and economic situation in the Union), setting a number of common recommendations and criteria for those opting for financing from the ESI Funds.

Based on the foregoing premises, the aim of the Funds is to supplement the financing provided through national, regional and local interventions, in order to deliver the “2020 Strategy”, as well as the objectives specific to each Fund. The Member States, in accordance with their institutional, legal and financial framework, and the bodies designated by them, shall prepare and implement programs and carry out their tasks, in partnership with the relevant partners. To this end, each Member State must promote a partnership in which, in addition to the competent local and regional authorities, with the participation of the following partners:

  • Economic and social partners, and
  • Other bodies representing civil society, including environmental partners, non-governmental organizations and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination.

With this premise, the Partnership Agreement is the national document prepared by each Member State for the period between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2020, which explains the investment strategy and priorities of the respective Funds (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF) in such State and must be approved by the Commission. Such strategy must be based on a previous analysis of the current situation of the Member State and its regions (in particular of the disparities existing between those regions), the opportunities for growth and the weaknesses of all its regions and territories, focusing on the thematic objectives, which will entail the identification of the actions in the State in question which are to be treated as priorities by each of the ESI Funds.

In the case of Spain, the Partnership Agreement for the period 2014-2020 was approved by the European Commission on November 4, 2014. It establishes as specific objectives of the ESI Funds, in Spain, to promote the competitiveness and the convergence of all territories, giving priority: (i) to the thematic areas included in the recommendations given by the European Council; (ii) to those contained in the Position Paper prepared by the Commission7 ; as well as (iii) to those set forth in the National Reform Program approved by the Council of Ministers on April 30, 2014.

The Partnership Agreement envisages an investment of €28,580 million aimed at financing the entire Community cohesion policy in this country for the period 2014-20208 , a figure which must be increased by €8,290 million to be used for the performance of Rural Development Programmes and €160 million intended for the fisheries and maritime sectors.

This financing is to be used to execute the proposals for action described in the Partnership Agreement in connection with each of the thematic objectives listed above, their main priorities being the following:

  • Increasing participation in the labor market and labor productivity, as well as enhancing education, training and social inclusion policies, giving special attention to youth and vulnerable groups;
  • Supporting the adaptation of the productive system toward activities with greater added value, by increasing the competitiveness of SMEs;
  • Promoting a suitable business environment targeted at innovation and strengthening R&D&I systems;
  • Attaining a more efficient use of natural resources.

The material implementation of the Funds, however, requires the approval of the corresponding Operational Programs prepared by each Member State in accordance with the terms of the Partnership Agreement and presented to the Commission for its approval. Each program will define priorities and proposals for action, specifying the projected investment and breaking it down by each of the years of the period in which it is applied. In the case of Spain, almost all of the Operational Programs are now fully operational, having been approved by the European Commission9 (Table 19).

Table 19


EU level Common Strategic Framework
Establishes strategic priorities and territorial challenges in line with Europe 2020.
National level Partnership Agreement
Prepared by the Member State.
Translates the elements of the MEC to national context.
Includes commitments to Fund programming.
National or regional level Operating Programmes
MEC and Partnership Agreements will be implemented in Member States through OPs.Prepared in close collaboration with the various agents (partnership)
Source: https://www.unex.es/conoce-la-uex/centros/eia/archivos/

8.3.3 Funds under the Cohesion Policy: ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund

The Funds under the Cohesion Policy include Structural Funds (ERDF and ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, which contribute to enhancing economic, societal and territorial cohesion.

The Community cohesion policy pursues two objectives:

Investment in growth and jobs in Member States and their regions:

The resources for this objective amount to 97% of the projected total investment in Spain (approximately €28.58 billion) and are allocated as follows:

  • €2 billion to less developed regions (Extremadura);
  • €13.4 billion to transition regions (Andalucía, Canary Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, Melilla and Murcia);
  • €11 billion to more developed regions (Aragón, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Cataluña, Ceuta, Valencia, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Navarra, Basque Country);
  • €484.1 million as special funding for the outermost regions (Canary Islands)

European Territorial Cooperation:

The resources earmarked for this objective amount to approximately 3% of the total resources allocated to Spain with a charge to the ESI Funds during the 2014- 2020 period (i.e., a total of €643 million).

In summary, the articulation of the Cohesion Policy during this new budgetary period will be instrumented according to the following scheme (Table 20).

Table 20


2007 – 2013 2014 – 2020
Convergence FEDER
Investment in Growth and Jobs Less developed regions ERDF
Convergence phasing out Transition regions
Regional Competitiveness and Employment Phasing in
Cohesion Fund Cohesion Fund
Regional Competitiveness and Employment FEDER
More developed regions ERDF
European Territorial Cooperation FEDER European Territorial Cooperation ERDFf
Based on the foregoing premises, the following is a description of the main characteristics of the Structural Funds (ERDF and ESF) and the Cohesion Fund:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

This Fund will contribute to the funding of measures adopted in order to enhance economic, societal and territorial cohesion by correcting the Union’s main regional imbalances, through (i) sustainable development and the structural adjustment of regional economies, and (ii) by restructuring industrial regions in decline and less developed regions.

The activities that can be cofinanced by the ERDF are the following:

  • Investments in production which contribute to creating or preserving long-term employment, through direct aid and investment in SMEs.
  • Productive investments, independent of the size of the company in question, which contribute to boosting research, technological development and innovation and to supporting a shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors. Also, where such investment entails cooperation between large companies and SMEs to enhance access to, and use and quality of information and communication technologies.
  • Investments in societal, health, research, innovation, business and educational infrastructures.
  • Investment in the development of native potential through ongoing investments in capital goods and small infrastructures, including small cultural and sustainable tourist infrastructures, corporate services, aid to research and innovation bodies and investment in technology and applied research at companies.
  • Interconnection online, cooperation and exchange of experiences between competent regional, local, urban and other public authorities, economic and social partners and the related bodies representing civil society referred to in article 5.1 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, as well as the performance of studies, preparatory actions and the development of capacities.

However, the following activities are not eligible for funding under this Fund (I) disassembly or construction of nuclear power plants; (II) investments aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Annex 1 of Directive 2003/87/ EC; (III) manufacture, processing and marketing of tobacco and manufactured tobacco; (IV) enterprises in crisis; as well as (V) in general, investments in airport infrastructures, unless they are related to environmental protection or are accompanied by the investments necessary to mitigate or reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Although the ERDF Fund contributes to financing the eleven thematic objectives described above, its main priority is targeted at the attainment of Objectives nos. 1 through 4, more related to the business context (infrastructures, service enterprises, support for corporate activities, innovation, CIT and research) as well as to the provision of services to citizens in certain areas (energy, online services, education, health, societal and research infrastructures, accessibility, environmental quality) (Table 21).

Table 21


Research and Innovation
Information and communication technologies
Competitiveness of SMEs
Low carbon economy
Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/infographic/cohesion_policy_20142020_es.pdf

During the 2014-2020 period Spain will manage 22 Operational Programmes co-financed by the ERDF with an amount of €19,408,883,778, pursuant to the Partnership Agreement approved by the European Commission.

Under the objective entitled “Investment in growth and jobs”, the ERDF will use the respective Operating Programmes to support sustainable urban development through strategies which establish measures to meet economic, environmental, climate, demographic and societal challenges with an impact on urban areas, also bearing in mind the need to promote the relationship between the urban and rural environments. For such purpose, at least 5% of the resources of the ERDF assigned at national level will be used for sustainable urban development.

The Partnership Agreement signed by Spain and the European Commission also includes a specific reference to the attainment of the “Investment in growth and jobs” objective, through which financing will be obtained for a number of proposals targeted at promoting the development of cities from a threefold perspective: (I) sustainable city (aimed at enhancing the physical and environmental dimension); (II) smart city (aimed at enhancing the economic and competitiveness dimension); and (III) inclusive city (aimed at enhancing the social dimension).

In turn, under the objective “European Territorial Cooperation”, the ERDF will support:

— Cross-border cooperation between adjoining regions aimed at favoring regional development between regions with terrestrial and maritime borders between two or more Member States or with a third country on the Union’s outer borders.

It is sufficient to indicate, in this connection, that Spain participates in the following cross-border cooperation programs (Chart 5):

Chart 5

Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/

  • Territorial Cooperation Programme Spain-FranceAndorra (POCTEFA) 2007-2013.
  • INTERREG V A Cooperation Programme Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) 2014-2020.
  • European Neighbourhood Instrument Cross-border Cooperation Programme (ENI-CBC). 

Transnational cooperation in large transnational areas in which national, regional and local partners participate and which also includes maritime crossborder cooperation in cases not covered by cross-border cooperation, with a view to attaining a higher degree of territorial integration in those territories:

  • Madeira-Azores-Canary Islands Territorial Cooperation Programme (POMAC) 2014-2020.
  • Atlantic Area European Territorial Cooperation Programme (2014-2020).
  • INTERREG V B MED Programme.
  • Southwest Europe Interreg V-B Transnational Cooperation Programme (Interreg V-B SUDOE).

Interregional cooperation to enhance the efficiency of the cohesion policy, its scope of application being the entire territory of the EU.

Spain participates in the following interregional cooperation program:


For more detailed information on these programmes, please visit the website of the Ministry of Finance: http://www.dgfc.sgpg.meh.es/sitios/dgfc/es-ES/ ipr/fcp1420/p/pa/Documents/20141022_AA_ Espa%c3%b1a_2014_2020.pdf

European Social Fund (ESF)

The mission of the ESF is (I) to promote high levels of employment and of job quality, (II) improve access to the job market, (III) foster the geographical and professional mobility of workers, (IV) facilitate their adaptation to the industrial change and to the changes in production systems necessary to guarantee sustainable development, (V) favor a high level of education and training for all and support the transition from education to employment among youth, (VI) combat poverty, back social inclusion and (VII) foster equality between the sexes, non-discrimination and equal opportunity, thus responding to the EU’s priorities in matters of improving economic, societal and territorial cohesion.

The Fund seeks to benefit citizens and, in particular, disadvantaged persons, such as long-term unemployed persons, disabled persons, immigrants, ethnic minorities, outcast communities and persons of any age living in poverty and social exclusion. The ESF will also provide aid to workers and to enterprises (including agents of the social economy and entrepreneurs) with a view to facilitating their adaptation to new challenges, by (i) including greater suitability of professional qualifications, (ii) fostering good governance, (iii) boosting social progress and (iv) the implementation of reforms, especially in the area of employment, education, training and social policies.

Similarly, the European Parliament, in its Resolution of July 5, 2016, stressed that professional integration is the first step towards social inclusion and that the ESF can therefore be applied to for the financing of measures designed to facilitate the integration of refugees (Table 22).

Table 22


Employment and Mobility
Better education
Social inclusion
Better public administration
Source: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/infographic.pdf

Although the ESF is aimed at attaining specifically the following four investment priorities of the eleven thematic objectives (i.e., objectives 8 through 11) [(I) employment and labor mobility; (II) education, skills and lifelong learning; (III) promoting social inclusion and combating poverty; and (IV) enhancing institutional capacity], this does not mean that the initiatives supported by the ESF cannot also contribute to the achievement of other objectives.

According to the terms of the Partnership Agreement executed between Spain and the Commission, Spain will manage 23 Operational Programmes with ESF co-financing of at least €7.6 billion (28.1% of the total budgets of the Cohesion Policy), without counting the budget to be used for the Youth Employment Initiative.

In particular, and in connection with the youth employment initiative, Spain has been allocated an additional €943.5 million to be used to back the fight against youth unemployment among youths under 25 years of age who are not integrated in educational or training systems and are inactive or unemployed.

The regions eligible for funding under the Youth Employment Initiative (Chart 6):

Chart 6

Source: ec.europa.eu/esf/BlobServlet?docId=435&langId=es

Cohesion Fund
The Cohesion Fund is targeted at Member States with GNI (gross national income) per capita of less than 90% of the average income of the EU. The primary objective of the Fund is to reduce the socio-economic disparities among Member States and to promote sustainable development.

The Cohesion Fund allocates a total of €63.4 billion to activities in the following categories:

  • Trans-European transport networks: in particular priority projects of European interest identified by the EU. The Cohesion Fund backs infrastructure projects in the context of the Connecting Europe Facility;
  • Environment: in this area, the Cohesion Fund will support projects relating to energy or transport, provided that they are clearly beneficial to the environment in terms of energy efficiency, using renewable energies, developing rail transport, enhancing intermodality, strengthening public transport, etc.

As indicated, the Cohesion Fund is currently subject to the same programming, management and supervisory rules as the ERDF and the ESF under Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006. During the 2014-2020 period, the Cohesion Fund may finance projects and initiatives taking place in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Romania. In other words, Spain, during the 2014-2020 period will not receive financing from this Fund (Table 23).

Table 23


2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 TOTAL
36,196 60,320 50,837 52,461 54,032 55,670 57,275 366,791
Source: COM (2015) 320 final. Communication from the Commission to the Council and to the EP on technical ajustment to the MFF for 2016.
Source: http://www.congreso.es/docu/pge2016/pge2016/PGE-ROM/doc/L_16_A_A6.PDF


The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) absorbs around 40% of the total budget of the EU for this period. Despite its heavy budgetary weight, justified in part by its being one of the few sectors whose policy is financed principally by the EU, its importance in economic terms has been reduced substantially over the last 30 years, dropping from 75% to the current 40%. The budget for direct payments assigned to Spain is equal to €29,227,900,000,000, which entails 11.56% of the total.

The financing and functioning of the CAP is regulated under Regulation nº 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 17 December 2013, on the financing, management and monitoring of the Common Agricultural Policy, and repealing Council Regulations (EC) nº 352/78, (EC) nº 165/94, (EC) nº 2799/98, (EC) nº 814/2000, (EC) nº 1290/2005 and (EC) nº 485/2008, which sets up the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

In particular, the CAP for the 2014-2020 period is based on two structural pillars (Chart 7):

Chart 7


Source: http://www.redruralnacional.es/documents/10182/327903/3_PROGRAMACION_

  • The first pillar, instrumented through the EAGF, provides direct support to farmers and funds market measures. The direct support and market measures are covered in their entirety and exclusively by the EU budget, with a view to guaranteeing the application of a common policy throughout the single market and with the integrated management and control system.
  • The second pillar, instrumented through the EAFRD, improves the competitiveness of agricultural and forestry industries and promotes the diversification of economic activity and quality of life in rural areas, including regions with specific problems, i.e. it is primarily intended to support rural development. Member States must cofinance these measures.

The following is a description of the main characteristics of these two Funds:


In general, the EAGF funds the following actions, managed jointly by the Member States and the Commission:

  • Measures aimed at regulating or supporting agricultural markets.
  • Direct payments to farmers established within the scope of the CAP.
  • The financial participation of the Union in the measures taken by Member States to report and promote agricultural products on the Community domestic market and in third countries.
  • The financial participation of the Union in the Union school fruit and vegetable scheme referred to in article 23 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 and the measures concerning animal diseases and loss of  consumer confidence referred to in article [155] of the same Regulation.

In turn, the EAFRD provides direct funding for the following expenditure:

  • Promotion of agricultural products, undertaken either directly by the Commission or through international organizations.
  • Measures, taken in accordance with Union law, to ensure the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture.
  • The establishment and maintenance of agricultural accounting information systems.

The Commission provides Member States with the credit necessary to cover the expenses financed by the EAGF, in the form of monthly reimbursements.


In the field of local development, consideration must be given to Regulation nº 1305/2013, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 17 December 2013, on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) nº 1698/2005.

In particular, the EAFRD has three basic objectives in the context of the 2020 European Strategy:

  • Fostering the competitiveness of agriculture.
  • Ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action.
  • Achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.

In order to meet these objectives, the EAFRD has six priorities:

  • Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas.
  • Enhancing farm viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture in all regions and promoting innovative farm technologies and the sustainable management of forests.
  • Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry.
  • Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors.
  • Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.

Pursuant to the Partnership Agreement approved by the Commission for Spain, 18 Operational Programmes will be eligible for co-financing with a charge to the EAFRD, its allocation for the entire period amounting to €8,209,828,821.


For the 2014-2020 period, a new Fund has been created for EU maritime and fishery policies known as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and regulated in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007, and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Pursuant to the aforesaid Regulation and in line with the “2020 European Strategy” and with the start-up of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Fund pursues the following priorities concerning the sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities and connected activities:

Fostering environmentally sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based fisheries, by pursuing the following specific objectives:

a. The reduction of the impact of fisheries on the marine environment, including the avoidance and reduction, as far as possible, of unwanted catches.

b. The protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems.

c. The ensuring of a balance between fishing capacity and available fishing opportunities.

d. The enhancement of the competitiveness and viability of fisheries enterprises, including small-scale coastal fleet and the improvement of safety and working conditions

e. The provision of support to strengthen technological development and innovation, including increasing energy efficiency and knowledge transfer.

f. The development of professional training, new professional skills and lifelong learning.

Fostering environmentally sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledgebased aquaculture, by pursuing the following specific objectives:

a. The provision of support to strengthen technological development, innovation and knowledge transfer.

b. The enhancement of the competitiveness and viability of aquaculture enterprises, including the improvement of safety and working conditions, in particular of SMEs.

c. The protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and the enhancement of ecosystems related to aquaculture and the promotion of resource-efficient aquaculture.

d. The promotion of aquaculture having a high level of environmental protection, and the promotion of animal health and welfare and of public health and safety.

e. The development of professional training, new professional skills and lifelong learning.

Fostering the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy by pursuing the following specific objectives:

a. The improvement and supply of scientific knowledge as well as the improvement of the collection and management of data.

b. The provision of support for monitoring, control and for the enhancing of institutional capacity and the efficiency of public administration, without increasing the administrative burden.

Increasing employment and territorial cohesion by pursuing the following specific objective:

The promotion of economic grown, social inclusion and job creation, and providing support to employability and labor mobility in coastal and inland communities which depend on fishing and aquaculture, including the diversification of activities within fisheries and into other sectors of maritime economy.

Fostering marketing and processing by pursuing the following specific objectives:

a. The improvement of market organization for fishing and aquaculture products;

b. The encouragement of investment in the processing and marketing sectors.

Lastly, fostering the implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy, i.e., the Union policy whose aim is to foster coordinated and coherent decision-making to maximize the sustainable development, economic growth and social cohesion of Member States, in particular, promoting the developing of maritime industries in the coastal, insular and outermost regions in the Union, through coherent maritime-related policies and international cooperation criteria.

The EMFF has a budget of €5,749,331,600 for the shared management measures, i.e., those taken in cooperation with the Member States and in compliance with the common provisions set forth in Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013. A breakdown of allocations between the Member States is provided in Chart 8.

Chart 8


Source: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/emff/index_en.htm

In the case of Spain, there has been a specific Operating Program pertaining to this Fund in force since November 13, 2015, managed by the Directorate-General of Fisheries under the Secretariat-General of Fisheries of the former Went, with a total budget of €1,161,620,889.


8.6.1 Horizon 2020

The EU has been approving successive multi-year programmes which set out the lines of action of the Community research and innovation policy, allocating considerable economic resources to their performance.

Currently the EU Research and Innovation Programme for the 2014-2020 period is called “Horizon 2020” and is regulated by Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 December 2013, which was amended by Regulation (EU) No 1017/2015 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 25 June 2015.

The objective of the programme is to contribute to building a society and an economy based on knowledge and innovation across the Union mobilizing, for this purpose, financing aimed at attaining, over this period, a target of 3% of GDP used to promote research, development and innovation (R&D&I) throughout the EU.

This programme has a total budget of €74,828.3 million to finance research, technological development and innovation initiatives and projects with obvious European added value.

Horizon 2020 is based on three fundamental pillars:

1. Excellent Science (with a budget of €24,232.1 million), with the target of raise the level of excellence in European basic science and to ensure a constant flow of quality research with a view to guaranteeing Europe’s long-term competitiveness. In order to reach this goal, it supports the best ideas and seeks to develop talent within Europe. It also aims to ensure that researchers have access to priority research infrastructure, making Europe an attractive place for the best researchers in the world.

It has four specific objectives:

  • Providing attractive and flexible funding through the European Research Council (ERC) to enable talented and creative individual researchers and their teams to pursue the most promising avenues at the frontier of science, on the basis of Union-wide competition.
  • Supporting collaborative research through Future and Emerging Technologies in order to expand Europe’s capacity for advanced innovation capable of changing the established research paradigms, in particular, by fostering scientific collaboration across disciplines on radically new, high-risk ideas and promoting the development of the most promising emerging areas of science and technology and well as the structuring of the scientific communities existing Union wide.
  • Providing, through Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) actions, excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers, all in order to prepare them to face optimally both current and future societal challenges.
  • Developing and supporting excellent European research infrastructures and assisting them to contribute to the European Research Area by fostering their innovation potential, attracting world-level researchers and training human capital, and complimenting these initiatives with the related Union policy and international cooperation.

2. Industrial Leadership (with a budget of €16,466.5 million). This line has a twofold aim: (I) speeding up the development of the technologies and innovations which serve to create tomorrow’s businesses, and (II) helping innovative SMEs to grow into world-leading companies. It has three specific objectives:

  • Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, provides specific support for research, development and demonstration (and, where appropriate, for standardization and certification), on information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing and space. Emphasis is placed on the needs of users in all these fields, promoting enabling technologies able to be used in multiple sectors, industries and services.
  • Access to risk finance, aims to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development. Thus SMEs have available to them a group of financial intermediaries to which they may apply for capital, guarantees or counterguarantees for their R&D projects. The development of Union-level venture capital is also fostered with the equity instrument of the “Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs” (currently the COSME programme).
  • Innovation in SMEs, provides tailored support to SMEs, with a view to stimulating all forms of innovation, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalize across the single market and beyond. In particular, under the “Horizon 2020” programme at least 20% of the funding budgeted for the areas “Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies” and “Societal Challenges” is to be allocated to SMEs, which means that, throughout the period, they will be able to receive approximately €7.6 billion, distributed as follows:

7% through the SME Instrument (a total of approximately €2.7 billion).

the remaining 13%, through the strategies of each Challenge or Technology where SMEs are involved in their “normal” collaborative projects, either with SME-targeted calls for applications or with more or less relevant topics, all of which Is aimed at encouraging SMEs to participate in projects.

The “SME Instrument” is 3-phase scheme of funding aimed at supporting SMEs showing a strong ambition to grow, develop and internationalize, through an innovation project with a European dimension. The Programme has 3 phases which cover the complete innovation cycle:

  • Phase 1. Concept and assessment of feasibility (Optional): SMEs receive funding of €50,000 per project for an assessment of the scientific or technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new idea (concept test) in order to develop an innovative project. A positive result of this assessment will allow them to access funding through the following phases.This phase has a term of approximately 6 months.
  • Phase 2. R&D, demonstration and market replication:This phase supports Research and Development focused on demonstration activities (testing, prototype, scale-up studies, design, innovative processes, products and services, performance verification, etc.) and the analysis of their possible implementation and commercial development.The R&D projects selected could obtain funding of up to €2.5 million (although this amount could be increased up to €5 million for health-related biotechnology projects).This phase has an approximate term of between 1 and 2 years.
  • Phase 3. Commercializing: This phase does not provide direct funding (apart from support activities), but rather aims to facilitate access to private capital and to environments enabling innovation. Links are to be established with access to risk finance.Each phase is open to all SMEs and the transition between one phase and another is immediate, provided that evidence has been given of the need to receive additional funding based on the success of the previous phase (Chart 9).

Chart 9

Source: https://www.horizon2020.es/instrumento-pyme-consejos-basicos-para-su-solicitud/ 

The SME Instrument has the following characteristics differentiating it from collaborative projects:

  • Each thematic or societal challenge of Horizon 2020 has at least one “topic” or theme for the SME Instrument with an open content in the context of each technology or societal challenge.
  • SMEs are the only ones able to apply for the aid, although projects may be submitted together with entities of any type, which may be subcontracted.
  • The formation of a previously-defined minimum consortium is not required. The SME is free to choose the consortium most suitable to its needs, and may even go it alone, but it is important to remember that European added value is a fundamental selection criteria.
  • It functions with various call dates per year submission deadlines per year, both for Phase 1 and for Phase 2.
  • SMEs which have received funding in Phases 1 and/or 2 will have priority access to the financial instruments made available under the “Access to Risk Finance” programme.
  • All SMEs participating in the SME Instrument will benefit from a coaching scheme associated with the Instrument.
  • A “Seal of Excellence” has been created to set apart projects which were evaluated as satisfactory but have not yet been able to access funding under the “SME Instrument”, and thus to provide them with access to other alternative sources of funding.

3. Societal Challenges (with a budget of €28,629.6 million), aimed at researching the major issues affecting European citizens. This line of action focuses on the following six areas essential to achieve a better life:

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing.
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy.
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy.
  • Smart, green and integrated transport.
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.
  • Europe in a changing world: inclusive, innovative and reflective societies.
  • Secure societies: protection of the freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

The focus of all activities must be based on responding to the challenges facing society, including basic or applied research, technology or innovation transfer, targeting political priorities without predetermining the technologies or solutions which will have to be developed. Emphasis is placed on bringing together a critical mass of resources and knowledge of different fields, technologies, scientific disciplines and research infrastructures in order to meet the challenges. The activities must cover the complete cycle, from research through to placement on the market, emphasizing activities relating to innovation, such as pilot projects, demonstration activities, testing banks, support for public contracting, design, innovation promoted by the end user, social innovation, technology transfer and assimilation of innovations by the market (Table 24).

Table 24


1.  European Research Council (ERC). 13,094.8
2. Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). 2,585.4
3. Marie Sklodowska Curie actions. 6,162.3
4. Research infrastructures. 2,389.6
1. Leadership in enabling industrial enabling and industrial technologies. 13,035
2. Access to risk finance. 2,842.3
3. SME innovation. 589.2
1.  Health, demographic change and wellbeing 7,256.7
2. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy. 3,707.7
3. Secure, clean and efficient energy. 5,688.1
4. Smart, green and integrated transport. 6,149.4
5. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials. 2,956.5
6. Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies. 1,258.5
7. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens. 1,612,7
TOTAL  74,828.3
Source: Annex II “Breakdown of the Budget” of Regulation 1291/2013.

With respect to funding, most of the activities are instrumented as competitive tenders in “Horizon 2020” managed by the European Commission with pre-established priorities in the respective working programmes which are previously published.

The calls for proposals have, in general, fixed launch and closing dates (generally comprising between three and four months) and can refer to a certain priority and/or area of action of “Horizon 2020”.

Based on these premises, the Working Programme of “Horizon 2020” approved by the Commission for 2018-2020 focuses its interest on the following priorities:

  • Increased investment in R&D for sustainable development and climate.
  • Integrated digitalization in all technological industries.
  • Strengthening of international cooperation in R&D.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • A boost, through the creation of the appropriate framework, for the creation of new markets resulting from new digital technologies and new business models.

The approval of this Program entails the startup of the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council, which is to be endowed with €2.7 billion and comprises the calls for aid applications of the SME Instrument, which will now have a topical focus that is totally open, of Rapid Access to Innovation and of FET Open, in addition to various awards.

Another new feather is the introduction of a pilot program for the financing of projects with a fixed amount, changing the focus of the financial control to the scientific-technical contents of the projects. This pilot will apply to two topics, one of which is Health and the other NMPB – nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing and processing.

In general, any European enterprise, university, research center or legal entity that wishes to develop a R&D&I project whose content is consistent with the lines and priorities stipulated in any of the pillars of “Horizon 2020” may participate in the calls.

To be able to participate in most of the actions included in this programme, it is developed through consortium projects, which must involve at least three independent legal entities, each one established in a different EU Member State or associated state.

Nonetheless certain exceptions are provided, such as research initiatives “on the frontiers of knowledge” of the European Research Council (ERC), coordination and support initiatives and mobility and training initiatives, in which legal entities or individuals can participate on an individual basis.

In any case, the working plans or programmes under the calls for proposals may stipulate terms additional to those mentioned above, depending on the nature and objectives of the initiative in question.

Lastly, in order to apply for funding for any R&D&I project a proposal must be submitted in a previously published call for proposals. Calls for proposals, as well as all documents related thereto, in which submission deadlines and forms are indicated, are posted on the participant portal made available on the website of the European Commission, through which participants can access to the electronic system for submitting proposals.

Normally a potential participant in “Horizon 2020” has two forms of taking part in a proposal: (I) based on his own idea (either as coordinator of the project or by participating individually in the instruments which so permit); or, on the contrary, (II) by participating in a consortium led by a third party.

Schematically, the basic steps to take from the time the idea arises until the project becomes a reality would be as Chart 10.

Chart 10

Source: http://eshorizonte2020.cdti.es/recursos/doc/Programas/Cooperacion_internacional/ HORIZONTE%202020/29236_2872872014135311.pdf

For more information on “Horizon 2020” as well as on the calls for proposals, please check the Participant Portal and the “Horizon 2020” online manual on the following website of the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/how-to-participate/how-to-participate

8.6.2 Other Research and Innovation Programmes

Parallel to “Horizon 2020”, the European Commission extends funding opportunities through additional programmes of significance in the context of the European Research and Innovation Strategy.

This section includes two programmes with differentiated objectives and targets.

Specifically, the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) programme, initiated in 1971 and one of the oldest European framework programmes supporting cooperation among scientists in all of Europe in different areas of research, and the EURATOM, (European Atomic Energy Community) programme, which arose under the Treaty of the same name, with a view to coordinating the research programmes of Member States in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

» COST Program

The COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) programme is the first, as well as one of the largest, intergovernmental European networks for the coordination of European scientific and technical research and currently involves 38 countries and Israel as a cooperating State. It also has four reciprocity agreements (with Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa) (Chart 11).

Chart 11


Source: https://www.slideshare.net/seenet/european-cooperation-in-science-and-technology-cost-actions-maria-moragues-canovashttps://www.cost.eu/who-we-are/members/

The programme is targeted at researchers who work (I) in universities and research centers, regardless of size, both public and private, in any of the 38 COST countries or Israel; (II) in any technological or scientific field; and (III) provided that they have an original and innovative idea.

Its objective is to strengthen scientific and technical research in Europe, financing the establishment of cooperation and interaction networks between researchers, organized around a specific scientific objective.

The programme functions through networks known as COST Actions, which are established at the initiative of researchers without pre-defined thematic priorities. At least seven participants from different COST countries must join together in order to apply for an Action, at least three of which must be from COST Inclusiveness Target Countries.

The projects selected will receive funding for activities previously established in the joint working programme – with a four-year term – from among the following:

  • Scientific meetings of working groups.
  • Workshops and seminars.
  • Short-term Scientific Missions (STSMs).
  • Training workshops and scientific conferences.
  • Dissemination publications and activities.

COST calls for proposals are permanently open, with two submission deadlines per year (spring and autumn). The procedure for selection and grant of aid is carried out in accordance with the following scheme (Chart 12).

Chart 12


Source: http://eshorizonte2020.es/content/download/23551/278009/file/Presentación%20COST%20junio%202013.pdf

Spain is one of the countries which is most active in COST, since it is present in more than 300 actions, approximately, which makes it number three in the ranking of countries with the highest degree of participation.

The representative of Spain in the COST program (delegate in the committee of senior officials, CSO, and COST National Coordinator, CNC) is the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through the Subdirectorate-General of International Relations, Immigration and Aliens.

Each country’s participation in COST actions (Chart 13).

Chart 13


Source: https://www.slideshare.net/seenet/european-cooperation-in-science-and-technology-cost-actions-maria-moragues-canovas 

»  EURATOM Program

EURATOM energy research activities are carried out under the treaty with the same name, which in 1957 established the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). EURATOM is legally separated from the European Community and has its own Framework Research and Training Programme, that is managed by the common Community institutions and regulated in Council Regulation (Euratom) 2018/1563 of 15 October 2018 on the Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2019–2020) complementing the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Although Member States retain most competencies in energy policy, whether based on nuclear or other sources, the EURATOM Treaty has achieved an important degree of harmonization at European level. It legislates for a number of specific tasks for the management of nuclear resources and research activities.

The general Objective of the EURATOM programme, with a budget of €770,220,000 for the full period (2019-2020) is to pursue nuclear research and training activities with an emphasis on continuous improvement of nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, in particular with a view to contributing to the long-term decarbonization of the energy system in a safe, efficient and secure way.

This objective is implemented through:

Indirect actions targeted as:

  • Supporting safety of nuclear systems.
  • Contributing to the development of safe, long-term solutions for the management of ultimate nuclear waste.
  • Supporting the development and sustainability of nuclear expertise and excellence in the Union.
  • Supporting radiation protection and development of medical applications of radiation.
  • Moving towards demonstration of feasibility of fusion as a power source.
  • Laying the foundations for future fusion power plants.
  • Promoting innovation and industrial competitiveness.
  • Insuring availability and use of research infrastructures of pan-European relevance.

Direct actions focused on:

  • Improving nuclear safety.
  • Improving nuclear security.
  • Increasing excellence in the nuclear science base for standardization.
  • Fostering knowledge management, education and training.
  • Supporting the policy of the Union on nuclear safety and security

EURATOM is a Program supplementary to “Horizon 2020” since both have the same rules on participation. Under “Horizon 2020” there is also a possibility of carrying out trans-actions within the EURATOM programme and between the EURATOM programme and “Horizon 2020” through co-funding and externalization.


The Community initiatives aimed at favoring corporate finance include most notably the COSME programme and the Gate2Growth initiative:

» COSME Programme:

The COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) programme is an EU programme aimed at improving the competitiveness of enterprises, with special emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises, during the 2014-2020 period.

COSME helps entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises to begin to operate, access financing and internationalize, in addition to supporting the authorities in the improvement of the business environment and boosting economic growth in the European Union. It is regulated in Regulation (EU) nº 1287/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 December 2013, establishing a Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014-2020) and repealing Decision nº 1639/2006/EC.

COSME has a budget of approximately €2.3 billion and supplements the policies implemented by the Member States themselves in their support of SMEs, helping to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of the Union’s enterprises and encouraging entrepreneurial culture.

The programme’s objectives are:

  • To improve access to finance for SMEs in the form of equity and debt through financial intermediaries.
  • To improve access by enterprises to markets, in particular within the Union: in particular the Enterprise Europe Network will provide support services aimed at facilitating the expansion of enterprises inside and outside the European Union and will fund international industrial cooperation with a view to reducing the differences between the EU and its main commercial partners.
  • To improve the general conditions for the competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs, including those pursuing their activity in the tourism industry.
  • To promote entrepreneurship and business culture: to develop the entrepreneurial abilities and attitudes, especially among new entrepreneurs, youth and women.

In addition to supporting internationalization, competitiveness and entrepreneurial culture, COSME is, above all, a financial instrument which will make it possible to improve a SME’s access to financing, since at least 60% of the programme’s total budget (€1.4 billion) is earmarked for these purposes.

The allocation of these funds is managed by the intermediary entities and bodies of each country that have been previously selected by the FEI. These bodies will be in charge of launching the financial products they have selected, in order to offer them to the SMEs, so that they can benefit from the terms of the programme’s aid and, accordingly, they will also develop the financial instruments contained therein.

The promotion and dissemination of COSME among the business sector depends on the active participation of the nearly 600 members of the Enterprise Europe Network, distributed throughout the entire territory of the European Union, which, in addition to furnishing information on European financing, help enterprises to develop their businesses on new markets and to license new technologies.

In Spain there are 9 nodes which provide support throughout the national territory:

  • GALACTEA PLUS: Galicia; Principality of Asturias; Cantabria and Castilla y León.
  • Basque Enterprise Europe Network: Basque Country.
  • ACTIS: La Rioja; Navarra; Aragón; Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura.
  • Enterprise Europe Network madri+d: Madrid Autonomous Community
  • CATCIM: Cataluña.
  • SEIMED: Valencia and Murcia.
  • IB SERVICES: Balearic Islands.
  • CESEAND: Andalucía.

For more information on the COSME programme and the calls open in Spain, see the following websites:

» InvestorNet – Gate2Growth initiative

The InvestorNet – Gate2Growth initiative (www.gate2growth.com) is a one-stop shop for innovative entrepreneurs seeking financing. It also offers investors, intermediaries and innovation service providers, a community for sharing knowledge and good practice.

The initiative incorporates all knowledge acquired through the implementation of previous pilot programs, some of the most noteworthy of which are the I-TEC project, the LIFT project and the FIT project.

One of the most notable characteristics of this initiative is that it acts as a meeting point for innovative entrepreneurs, innovation professionals and potential investors. InvestorNet – Gate2Growth aids innovative European companies with the processes of marketing, internationalization and financial growth, by:

  • Being a partner in commercialization and value chain modeling. Consulting in term-sheet and shareholder agreement negotiations.
  • Raising capital for high-tech ventures and public-private partnerships.
  • Finding strategic partnerships for investments from universities and research institutions.
  • Conducting master class in “How to Attract Investors” “Horizon 2020 SME Instrument” &”Train the Trainers in How to Attract Investors”.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that, within the framework of the InvestorNet – Gate2Growth initiative, the following projects are currently being carried out:

  • SLIM: sustainable low impact mining solution for the mining of small mineral deposits based on advance rock blasting and environmental technologies (2016-2020).
  • RUBIZMO: replicable business models for modern rural economies (2018-2021).
  • LIBERATE: lignin biorefinery approach using electrochemical flow.
  • CIRCLES: the control of microbiomes-tailored circular actions to enhance food systems.

On the other hand, together with other initiatives such as the one analyzed, business financing initiatives according to activity sector are also available at Community level.

2  For more information, see the following link: https://www.eib.org/fr/events/annual-press-conference-2019.htm

3  For more information, see the following link: https://www.eib.org/attachments/general/events/apc_2019_key_data_en.pdf

4  Source: https://www.eib.org/en/efsi/map/index.htm?country=ES

5  Source: http://www.eif.europa.eu/what_we_do/efsi/how_does_EIF_contribute/index.htm

6  Based on figures previous to the entry of Croatia in July 2013.

7  Report on the Position of the Commission Services on the development of a Partnership Agreement and Programmes in SPAIN for the period 2014-2020. October 2012

8  Including the financing of European territorial cooperation and the allocation for the youth employment initiative

9  In this line, the ERDF Regional Operational Programs have been approved for all of the regions of Spain, as have the Multi-regional and the Territorial Cooperation Operational Programs of the same Fund; two of the ESF Operational Programs have also been approved. Approval has also been given for the Operational Program for Spain of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the EAFRD. Spain no longer has access in this period to the Cohesion Fund.