What is the InvestEU Programme?

What is the InvestEU Programme?

The promotion of recovery, green growth, employment and well-being across Europe is one of the EU’s top priorities, supporting investment that delivers real benefits and makes a difference at the local level.

The InvestEU Programme builds on the successful model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. It will bring together, under one roof, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 other EU financial instruments.

The InvestEU programme will have a budgetary guarantee of €26.2 billion funded from NextGenerationEU resources and the Multiannual Financial Framework. The overall investment to be mobilised on this basis is estimated at more than €372 billion across the EU, of which 30% will contribute to climate objectives.

InvestEU Programme aims to give an additional boost to investment, innovation and job creation in Europe over the period 2021-27.

Policy areas of the InvestmentEU Programme

The programme will be structured around four policy ¨windows¨:

  1. Sustainable Infrastructure
  2. Research, Innovation and Digitalisation
  3. SMEs
  4. Social Investment and Skills

Strategic investments focusing on building stronger European value chains as well as supporting activities in critical infrastructure and technologies will be possible under all four windows.

Building bricks of the InvestEU Programme

InvestEU Fund aims to mobilise more than €372 billion of public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion that backs the investment of implementing partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and other financial institutions.

The InvestEU Advisory Hub will provide technical support and assistance to help with the preparation, development, structuring and implementation of projects, including capacity building.

The InvestEU Portal will bring together investors and project promoters by providing an easily-accessible and user-friendly database.

Who can apply?

The InvestmentEU Programme was tailored to provide long-term funding to companies and to support European Union policies in a recovery from a deep economic and social crisis, promoting green growth, employment and well-being across Europe.

The InvestEU is aimed to provide capital support to SMEs which face significant risks due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. To benefit from support, SMEs should have a viable business model and contribute to long term EU policy objectives.

The eligible final recipients can be natural or legal persons established in an EU country or in a Third Eligible Country, including:

  • Private entities such as special-purpose vehicles (SPV) or project companies, large corporates, midcap companies, including small midcap companies, and SMEs
  • Public sector entities (territorial or not) and public-sector type entities
  • Mixed entities, such as public–private partnership (PPPs) and private companies with a public purpose
  • Non-for-profit organisations

Member States will also have the option to use InvestEU as a tool to implement their recovery and resilience plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

The InvestEU guarantee will be open to the EIB group and also to multiple implementing partners, including international financial institutions and national promotional banks and institutions. This will facilitate a rapid deployment of the funds and ensure local outreach.

How to apply?

Through the InvestEU Fund:

If you are a project promoter you should apply directly to implementing partners who will offer tailor-made financing solutions based on the financial products supported by the EU guarantee.

Financial intermediaries should also consult the offering of implementing partners active in their regions proposing relevant products: it is up to them to select financial intermediaries through procedures such as calls for expressions of interest.

Eligible InvestEU Implementing Partners, in addition to the EIB Group, will be listed on the website of InvestEU Programme.

If you represent Small mid-caps, SMEs and social or micro-enterprises  you should apply to your local commercial or public banks whose financial products are covered by the EU guarantee in your country or region. The local intermediary will inform you if a particular financing programme is covered by the InvestEU Fund.

You can find your local intermediary on Access to Finance website, which already lists intermediaries under current EU programmes and will also list InvestEU financial intermediaries as of the launch of the programme.

The InvestEU is aimed to provide capital support to SMEs
Through the The InvestEU Portal

If you are a project promoter based in the EU wishing to attract potential investments worldwide and increase your visibility, you can register your project on European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) – Portal. The submission process is quick and easy. A dedicated user-friendly tool will guide you through the registration process. Registration and publication of the project on the Portal is free of charge.

If you are an investor looking for investment opportunities in areas such as energy efficiency, digital economy, transport, healthcare, renewable energy, broadband or social infrastructure, or in financing SMEs, the Portal (EIPP) will give you a broad choice of interesting projects. You need only to register on the portal. A dedicated tool will guide you through the registration process in completing your user profile

Wishing you a good luck! Source: https://europa.eu/investeu/home_en

From Fast Track to Innovation to Accelerator

From Fast Track to Innovation to Accelerator

The main changes in the financing mechanism of the European Innovation Council (EIC)

The recently finished Horizon2020 framework programme contributed financially to addressing the main challenges in Europe, as well as the promotion of industrial leadership, and has helped to consolidate the excellence of its scientific base.

One of the most important aspects of this programme was reflected in its strategic objective no. 2 ” Developing technologies and their applications to improve European competitiveness”, from which the two most important financial instruments to encourage technological disruption and the creation of new markets through new processes and products: Fast-Track to Innovation (FTI) and SME Instrument (SME Instrument). 

Of these, fast-track to innovation represented the largest financing mechanism for European companies for the agile market launch of innovative concepts, driven by the industry, and with great potential to make these companies grow. 

In figures: 

More than € 5 billion invested; Some 5,700 SMEs and startups received support during 2014-2020, 90% of the subsidized innovation was related to development objectives (Digitization, Health and the Green Deal).

The program of the European Innovation Council (EIC) seeks to create fluency in the transition from science towards new products, services and creating new markets. In this regard, the new framework program Horizon Europe made major changes in these strategic lines and may, today, be the most ambitious European initiative within l to innovation strategy 2021-2027.

EIC will support funding through 3 main instruments: Pathfinder, for advanced research in disruptive technologies, Transition, which will fund ideas and projects evaluated and approved in Pathfinder and the ERC proof-of-concept program (Horizon2020), and Accelerator for unique entities that seek to develop and scale-up high-risk, high-impact, innovative technologies close to the market. It is this last instrument whose scope already covers the previous Fast-Track and SME Instrument.

The main changes to the program can be summarized as:

Budget: it will double the investment, € 10 billion for 2021-2027 vs € 5 billion in the previous framework program.

Composition: two instruments (FTI and SMEInstrument) that have now been merged into one (Accelerator), opening a wide range of options and opportunities for companies and two additional lines to finance joint innovation proposals with scientific and technological participation (Pathfinder and Transition).

Technology Maturity Level (TRL): 6-8 in FTI to 5-9 in Accelerator.

Maximum European Commission contributions per share: up to € 3 million in FTI. Now two new structures at Accelerator (up to € 2.5 million in grants or € 17.5 million if equity investment is included).

It should be noted that ECI is always open to innovation and technologies in all fields, excluding those areas related to military development.

ECI is always open to innovation and technologies in all fields, excluding those areas related to military development

And what about those derivative projects eligible for financing that come from Horizon 2020 results?

Horizon Europe will continue to support the initiatives derived from Horizon 2020 and provides an opportunity to finance proposals resulting from the previous framework program that can be included within the Accelerator scheme. For this purpose, a review of the project should be requested from the responsible funding body to assess the innovation or the potential for deployment in the market and decide whether the project is suitable to receive support under this scheme.

The Green Deal or European Green Pact – what have we done so far

The Green Deal or European Green Pact – what have we done so far

The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overall objective of making Europe climate neutral by 2050. An impact assessment plan will also be presented to increase the greenhouse gas emission reduction target. of the EU by 2030 at least 50% and towards 55% compared to 1990 levels.

In the context of the Paris Agreement, and therefore using current emissions as a base, because since 1990 EU emissions have already been reduced by 25% in 2019, [3] a reduction target of 55% using 1990 as a base represents in 2019 terms a target to reduce the 40%: (0,55-0,25) / (1-0,25) = 0,40.

According to the 2020 Emissions Gap Report from UNEP (United Nations Environment Program), meeting the 1.5 ° temperature rise target of the Paris Agreement (with a 66% probability) requires GtCO2e 34/59 = 57% global emission reduction from 2019 levels by 2030, therefore well above the 40% target of the European Green Deal.

This 57% emission reduction target by 2030 represents average global reductions, while advanced economies are expected to contribute more.

The plan is to review every existing law on its climate merits, and also introduce new legislation on circular economy, building renovation, biodiversity, agriculture and innovation.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, stated that the European Green Deal would be Europe’s “man-on-the-moon moment”, as the plan would make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. Von der Leyen appointed Frans Timmermans as Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal. On 13 December 2019, the European Council decided to go ahead with the plan, with an opt-out for Poland [6]. On January 15, 2020, the European Parliament also voted in favour of the agreement, with requests for higher ambition.

How the Green Deal is put into practice

Within the framework of the intersectoral actions of the Horizon 2020 program, the European call corresponding to the Green Pact was published for January 25, 2021, through the 10 thematic areas into which it is divided, whose objective is to finance projects that, materializing in all areas of the European economy, will profoundly modify the negative impact that productive activities and citizens’ lifestyles have on the environment, with a very ambitious prospect of achieving climate neutrality.

In this sense, UP PROJECT was involved in the preparation and presentation of the following proposals, in three of them (the first three) as coordinating / applicant organization.

BeFIRST, the food industry sustainability project

In the context of Area 10.2 “Behavioural, social and cultural change for the Green Deal”, the proposal “Behavioural Food Impact Reducing for Sustainability of Tomorrow – BeFIRST” tries to develop technological solutions that sensitize the population towards increasingly green behaviours.

This transnational association made up of 24 European countries, proposes a digital solution to provide users with useful advice to change their habits, sensitizing to more conscious ways of shopping, healthy eating and reducing waste, all through a gamified approach, a file original and effective to stimulate their interest and motivation. The most suitable digital format (online platform, web or mobile application, etc.) and the creation of specific tools (discussion areas, personal behaviour diaries, challenges, etc.) will be decided after the research phase, in order to provide a real solution based on user needs.

This digital solution will involve not only consumers but also other relevant actors in the food sector, such as agricultural companies, restaurants, shops, civil society organizations, as well as institutions. In fact, people’s behaviors are only the first step towards larger-scale change: new consumer behaviors will drive change in food production, supply chains, food policies, and waste reduction.

DECIDE-UP, the democratization of the ecological transition

Another proposal in area 10.1 “European capacities for deliberation and citizen participation for the Green Deal” is “Decide-Up”, which aims at the active participation of citizens in all phases of the transition towards a green economy.

Active support from citizens is required for issues of considerable complexity, such as the choice of energy sources, attitudes towards the bioeconomy, water management, the rural-urban divide, the digital divide, etc. social groups, different generations and different origins, including those living in more vulnerable conditions or belonging to less privileged social groups. A series of real and virtual co-creation activities and events could make the above processes possible, improving the dissemination of knowledge and information and fostering debate.

Starting the processes from the bottom up implies that the knowledge and expectations of citizens are considered, valued and appreciated and a process of collective learning begins, involving them in discussions and exchanges that require technical, scientific and managerial knowledge considered important to trigger the cooperation process – creation of knowledge and achievement of the objective of maximum participation.

CITIZENS 2030, a new educational framework of reference

Also in the area of ​​10.3, “Allow citizens to act on climate change, for sustainable development and environmental protection through education, citizen science, observation initiatives and civic engagement”, Subtopic 1: Allow citizens to act on climate change and for sustainable development through education, articulates the proposal “Citizens Learning Spaces for a systemic practice model towards Sustainable Development – CITIZENS 2030”

From the early stages, the European Commission has been seeking a balanced, integrated and holistic mix of formal education and non-formal learning, from the Socrates, Leonardo and Youth Joint Actions (2004) to the current Erasmus Program (2021 – 2027), where the definitions of both types are clearly defined and related to the Council Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning (https://ec.europa.eu/education/education-in-the-eu/council-recommendation-on-key -competences-for-lifelonglearning_en)

Taking this fact as a starting point for the current call and the CITIZENS 2030 proposal that we describe here, our ambition is to define a model where formal education and non-formal education are combined in learning spaces for citizens, where sustainable development changes. Climate in the context of sustainable development is at the core of learning outcomes, in addition to the added value of involving all relevant actors and stakeholders in related processes and outcomes.

BeFIRST tries to develop technological solutions that sensitize the population towards increasingly green behaviours

EUGreenGrid, towards an ecological and sustainable modular housing

In area 4 “Building and renovating efficiently in terms of energy and resources”, the proposal “EUGreenGrid” is an innovative European construction solution that integrates pre-existing construction products in an adaptable, versatile and flexible system for residential and non-residential solutions. Affordable urban and architectural developments that are energy-positive, zero-emission buildings in sustainable green and energy exchange. neighborhoods.

Its objective is to respond to the environmental and social needs of different contexts by involving citizens and articulating modular elements in sensitive construction and housing solutions. Its vision is to become the European sustainable building and living solution that is open to all members, products and builders towards a common mission of preserving, enhancing and respecting the natural, built and social environment.

To achieve this vision, EUGreenGrid will design and build demonstrators that will be meaningfully co-created in a bioclimatically sensitive and socially conscious way through a Living Lab approach.

The new building solution integrates, in a technology platform, a set of existing green and energy efficient “Made in Europe” innovations and building components (flexible and modular industrial building platform for high-mass timber buildings, state-of-the-art technological advances of silicon and perovskite-based solar cells, and numerous GreenSkins of sustainably sourced bamboo and cork materials, among others) in smart system networks that are not only energetically positive, but also have a positive impact on the quality of life of people. With a view to scaling up and broad replication, large-scale demonstrators will be built with the EUGreenGrid technology platform and deployed in three different socio-cultural and climatic contexts in selected EU municipalities: Vila Nova de Poiares (Portugal), Tallinn (Estonia) , Herning. (Denmark), and will have the participation of all relevant actors from the entire value chain, from planning and design, through manufacturing and construction, to final use in a co-creation process.

According to the latest information available, the results of the evaluation will be published before June 26, 2021.

But, in the end… what is that thing called Europe?

But, in the end… what is that thing called Europe?

When someone asks me about what my profession is, I always pause before answering, because it is not always easy to explain what is done in my work: preparing projects financed or co-financed by the European Commission. Normally, the reaction of who has asked me is of perplexity: “Ah…! And what is that?”

It has been many years since I learned that it is not always easy to explain what I do, nor do I assume that people know the complexities (or simplicities) of everything behind what is called “the Europe of 27”, the “European Union”, the “European Commission” or the still used (although not due) “European Economic Community”

In my training courses I always start by asking if someone can tell me what the European Union is, in order to know which type of audience I have in front of me, at what level of knowledge or mix of knowledge I have to set the level. In general, my explanation is always the same: the European Union is like a private club, with 27 members, who pay a multiannual fee and with it pay everyone’s expenses, also inviting other countries that are not part of the club to participate. club.

This simplistic way of defining the network of organizations, policies, procedures, budgets, etc. … is usually the one that, from my experience, everyone understands and from which they begin to ask and I can adapt the training to the needs of the audience.

I do not want to elaborate here with all the explanations, because if there is something good about the European Union, it is the official website, in all its official languages, accessible and understandable, which I recommend visiting and dedicating a couple of afternoons to research, because if you cannot find what you are looking for, there is always an email address (a helpdesk) that usually answers quickly and specifically what is asked. This website can be found at the address https://europa.eu/european-union/index_es

Another issue that also tends to cause confusion is the term “European funds”, more in vogue still by the famous “Funds for Recovery and Resilience” as a result of the already known pandemic throughout the world.

Here it is also simple to make a differentiating nuance between what are the funds and what is the financing by programs. In the first case, the funds (the “big money” like the Funds for Recovery) are a part of that fee paid by members, set aside in a common bag that serves to support major European policies in terms of cohesion, such as the European Social Fund – ESF (focused on people, employment, education), the European Regional Development Fund – ERDF (infrastructures, highways, airports) and others, which Brussels sends directly to the member states so that the managed through the corresponding government mechanisms: only public authorities and public utility entities can enter here.

The other major financing channel, the programs, is based on the design of a set of measures that finances or co-finances (not always the European Union subsidizes 100% of the expenses) projects aimed at responding to the needs within the framework of European Commission education policies, as in the case of the ERASMUS + program, research, such as HORIZONTE EUROPA, or SMEs, such as COSME. Each and every one of them normally managed by a series of executive agencies that, to understand it better, do the same as the Spanish tax agency in favour of the Ministry of Finance: publish calls, manage applications, subsidize approved projects, control justified expenses … Really, nothing new.

So why is it so difficult to understand what my profession is about?

Very simple: there is a combination of excess information (especially in the networks) with a lack of it in terms of how the European Union really benefits, through the European Commission (its executing hand) and its Directorates General (as in any Spanish autonomous community) that, in short, form a forest so dense that it is impossible to see the tree.

And then the multitude of actors involved (member states, public authorities, private institutions, consultants, local development agencies) create a somewhat motley menu, in which one gets a little lost when asking for the command.

It is not that complicated. You just have to spend a couple of afternoons on it, ask the right people, and select the right information.

And if you are still lost, do not hesitate to call us. We will surely give you the answer you are looking for, or we know who could give it to you.