Nowadays, it is clear that Europe 2020 Strategy has provided an important contribution to the EU’s socio-economic development since its launch in 2010: record high employment, the greenhouse gas emissions objective has been met, the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets are on track. However, EU enforces progress according to targets of 2020 Strategy with stimulating research, innovation and investment in projects through different EU financial mechanisms (Horizon 2020, COSME, CEF, LIFE, Erasmus+, IPA) and different thematic categories. Analysis of the EU financial mechanisms and key funding opportunities to support research, development, innovation and technology transfer projects related to climate change, have shown that there are available for the countries in the pre-accession phase as Republic of North Macedonia.
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of EU
From 2014, according to EU Regulation, all the European Union mechanism, programmes and funding opportunities for the science, innovation, technology and society, are under Horizon 2020 the Framework Programme for research and innovation, for period 2014-2020, with total projected investment of 75€ billion. Horizon 2020 is implemented via three multiannual work programmes that integrate EU policy objectives in the priority setting, prepared by the EC and advisory consultative groups from industry, research and society.
Last multiannual work programme, 2018-2020, is the last for Horizon 2020, based on EU policy priorities with goal to provide funding opportunities and projects support that will enlarge EU competitiveness, technology development, innovation for society and businesses, building market share and employment generating. This Work Programme has been fully updated with new objectives in the light of emerging priorities and connecting with the forthcoming Horizon Europe programme, for the period 2021-2027.
This Work Programme identifies few key novelties, that directly correlating with research, innovation and technology transfer to CC and SD:
- Actions towards three O’s policies of Open innovation, Open science and Open to the world;
- Actions with strong commitment to sustainable development and quality of life in EU, as well as the EU's position in the world, towards implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG);
- Actions defined through four mutually reinforcing Focus Areas that are aligned to EU’s major policy priorities and three of them directly tackled CC:
- Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC),
- Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy (CE),
- Digitizing and transforming European industry and services (DT).
According to EU statistics for the period 2014-2020, full list of the approved H2020 projects with participation of the partners from North Macedonia contains 63 projects with total received funding of €8.87 million, with 85 organizations from NM, involved as projects’ partners. The list of 38 projects are selected by the criteria to be directly/or indirectly related to the climate change, through research, development or technology transfer of climate technologies and climate policies. It should be underlined that through this allocated H2020 budgets, the country has strengthened research potentials and innovation capacity for development of the technologies and their transfer with direct or indirect impact on the climate change mitigation. The objectives and main expected results of the granted projects are classified into policies connected to climate, as: secure, clean and efficient energy, low-cost low-carbon energy supply, climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials, smart, green and integrated transport, increasing production efficiency coping with climate change and ensuring sustainability.
Forthcoming Horizon Europe Programme (2021-2027), the next research and innovation framework programme, is in the light of emerging EU priorities and connecting with the focus areas in last framework programme (2018-2020). New policy priorities of Horizon Europe are focused through the follow topics, more of them connected to innovative climate technologies and climate change mitigation actions: a) Next generation of batteries, b) Secure, clean & efficient energy, c) Plastics, d) Competitive, low-carbon and circular Industries, e) Climate action, environment, resource efficiency & raw materials, f) Health, demographic change, g) Secure societies and h) Artificial Intelligence.
Horizon Europe will be structured in three pillars with ensuring cross-cutting strategic orientations for the support to research and innovation, where pillars are: excellent science; global challenges and European industrial competitiveness and innovative Europe.
Erasmus+ is established in the fields of education, training, youth and sport, supporting actions, cooperation and tools consistent with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its initiatives for growth, jobs, social equity and inclusion. The aim of Erasmus+ is to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020), through investment in knowledge, skills and competences that will benefit individuals, institutions and society by contributing to growth and prosperity in Europe and beyond. Also, Erasmus+ aims to promote and to achieve the sustainable development by providing opportunities for education, knowledge and skills and contributing to the EUs commitment to the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Connecting Europe Facility
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is new funding mechanism for infrastructure projects of common interest for trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications networks, for the period 2014-2020. CEF supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks (TEN) in the fields of transport, energy and digital services. Supporting projects for sustainable and efficient transport, enhance energy supply security, foster the energy from renewable sources with develop carbon dioxide networks, and accelerate ultrafast broadband networks. Since January 2014, through financial instruments of the CEF has been realized budget of €29 billion, where beneficiary partners from North Macedonia have realized 1 project with total budget of €100.000,00 only through the CEF sector transport.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in order to aim in contribution to the shift towards a resource efficient, low-carbon and climate resilient economy, to the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment and to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, as well as development of environmental and climate policy and legislation.
Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance
Тhe Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), starting from 2007 to 2020 , with funding in two programmed cycles (IPA I 2007-2013; IPA II 2014-2020; IPA III is under planning), supports reforms in the pre-accessing countries throughout the accession process with technical and financial investment in pre-defined sectors: public administration reform, rule of law, sustainable economy, people and agriculture. IPA instrument is helping to pre-accessing countries in process of achievement of EU goals regarding a sustainable economic recovery, energy supply, transport, environment and climate change.
European Green Deal
The European Union is committed to becoming the first climate neutral bloc in the world by 2050. This requires significant investment from both, EU and the national public sector, as well as the private sector. The European Green Deal Investment Plan, as the sustainable Europe investment plan, presented by the Communication document COM2020/21 at 14 January 2020 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee , will mobilize public investment and help to access private funds through EU financial instruments, notably new instrument Invest EU. Moreover, Invest EU dedicates at least 30% of mobilized investments to climate change and environment related projects. Even Invest EU is oriented to the EU member states; it contributes to the JTM (Just Transition Mechanism) with a new Invest EU scheme to mobilize €45 billion of eco-sustainable investments in the regions most affected by the transition challenges (into candidate or member countries). Invest EU Programme provides technical assistance and advisory support through the Invest EU Advisory Hub for identification, development and implementation of green investment projects.
European Green Deal Investment Plan with its mechanisms is identified as strong instruments for technical and financial support of national economies at European continent for development, implementation and transfer of climate technologies for climate change mitigation, environment and sustainable development. National delegated entities in our country should recognize European Green Deal mechanisms as an opportunity and use it appropriately as an important source for providing technical assistance and financial support for input of new climate technologies of the future.
Additional information for funds utilization from European programmes in the country, at the following link.