The European Commission (EC) invests € Billions in projects with Member States each year. In fact, in its Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) it has already set aside €960 billion which will be spent between now and 2020. This cycle began in 2014, traditionally the EC creates a 7 year plan which it evaluates periodically against viability and the current economic landscape. The MFF will be reviewed in 2016. This framework also accounts for themes such as external cooperation with other countries in both crisis and development. The goal, to spread the values of the EU across the globe.
It is however important to note that the figure of €960 billion is a merely a ‘ceiling’ and thus simply sets out the maximum that can be spent in this period, it is not the budget. It is however important to be able to give an accurate figure as the process of obtaining any European funding is going to take several years from planning to execution.
The MFF is divided into the following headings, each of these headings then include the programmes of the Directorate Generals.
Smart and Inclusive Gowth;
1. Competitive for Growth and Jobs – €135 Billion
2. Economic, social and territorial cohesion – €350 Billion
Flexibility and Special Instruments - €9.8 Billion
There is also headings for both Administration – €61 (Internal expenditure of the EC) and Compensation temporary payments to Croatia to ensure it does not contribute more than it benefits after its ascension to the EU in 2013.
Learning about EU Policy: The European Commission in 60 seconds
The EC is divided into two distinct department types, Executive Agencies and Directorate Generals (DG), these departments have control over a particular theme e.g. DG Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) or External Actions: Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Commission consists of 34 Directorate Generals and 6 Executive Agencies. There are also affiliate institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Council of Europe (COE). Through ‘Programmes’ and ‘funding instruments’ these bodies award funding to projects that fit in to the objectives of the MFF and will benefit the EU at some level.
The current President of the European Commission is Jean Claude Juncker. Below him, the College of Commissioners is composed of 28 individuals, one from each EU Member State. Each of the 28 Commissioners is in charge of a policy area. The EC’s high representative Federica Mogherini is in charge of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, she is also Vice-President.
European Funding is obtained by having a project relevant to one the EC’s many programmes and responding to a ‘Call for Proposals’. These documents contain all the information needed to understand the requirements to gain the funding and will give the applicant a time scale in which to respond.
The Commission also works with Managing Authorities, in the UK this the Department of Communities and Local Government. DCLG has its own ‘Operational Programme’ and controls the distribution of the European Structural funds within the UK.
Learning about EU funding policy is a series of blogs aimed at providing the novice with a basic understanding of how the European Commission works. Check back every Wednesday for a new one. Look out for more Insight Works blogs by following @theinsightworks.