EU pledges €47 million to boost higher education cooperation with neighbours
The European Commission revealed today, 5 July, that it would allocate €47 million to support higher education projects in the European Neighbourhood countries and Russia under the Tempus Programme, a rise of nearly €17 million compared to last year’s programme.
A press release said the new funding would “improve teaching, learning methods and teaching material, as well as boost quality assurance and management of higher education institutions in the partner countries.”
Today’s decision will also boost networking, joint projects and partnerships between higher education institutions in the EU and the neighbourhood countries, the press release said. The new Tempus financial package will support around 60 multilateral partnerships “aiming at modernising curricula, teaching methods and management of the colleges, schools and universities in the neighbouring countries.”
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle underlined: “Investing in people is a key objective of the EU Neighbourhood Policy. Fruitful cooperation between higher education institutions in the EU and European Neighbourhood countries will be continued, helping to share knowledge, experience and ideas. The significant increase of funding to this programme illustrates the renewed commitment of the EU to support higher education in this region.”
Overall, more than 450 institutions from these countries will be able to collaborate in a structured way with a similar number of institutions from the EU in two to three-year projects starting in 2012. Public and private companies and NGOs will also be involved, “to improve relevance and reinforce the links between society and education.” (ENPI Info Centre)
EC proposes 40 per cent rise in neighbourhood funding with €16.1 billion for 2014-2020
A total of €16.1 billion will be allocated for the future European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), according to a Communication on the budget for the next financial framework 2014-2020, adopted by the European Commission. If adopted, the new funding for the neighbourhood policy would represent a rise of more than 40%, compared to the €11.4 billion under the current European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which covers the current financial period 2007-2013.
In a press release issued on his website, European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle said: “The Commission has proposed today to increase the funding for European Neighbourhood Policy by €4.7 billion for the next financial perspective. I am convinced that the EU’s support to our partners in the South and the East is essential to ensure the success of the democratisation process and improve economic and social development. The significant increase reflects our commitment to our neighbourhood and its growing importance for the EU.”
The Communication sets out the broad budgetary orientations for the next post-2013 financial framework, together with proposals for the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) regulation. The package with the legislative proposals on future EU external action instruments will follow as a next step, and is scheduled to be adopted in December 2011.
The press release said the future European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) would continue to provide the bulk of funding to the European Neighbourhood countries, essentially through bilateral, regional and cross border co-operation programmes.
The new instrument would be increasingly policy-driven and provide for increased differentiation, more flexibility, stricter conditionality and incentives for best performers, reflecting the ambition of each partnership.
In line with the renewed vision for the European Neighbourhood Policy, the future ENI will focus in the next financial period (2014-2020) essentially on:
- promoting political, economic and social reforms across the neighbourhood
- backing the agreed priorities in the ENP Action Plans
- supporting approximation to EU policies and standards
- promoting sustainable and inclusive growth
- enhancing people to people contacts
- advancing the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
Within these areas, funding will be provided to further support the new activities stemming from the ENP review, presented in the ENP Communication of 25 May. The decision significantly to increase funding for the European Neighbourhood corresponds to this renewed ENP vision and its medium term objectives, the press release said.
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is established for seven-year intervals and is also known as the EU “Financial Perspective”. For each programming period, the MFF establishes the maximum amount and the composition of EU expenditure. The MMF lays down maximum amounts for each broad category of expenditure for a clearly determined period of time. (ENPI Info Centre)