The 2013 annual report on Switzerland’s enlargement contribution illustrates the concrete results of the contribution through projects, and shows why the enlargement contribution is also in Switzerland’s interests. At the end of 2013, more than 200 projects were in the process of implementation; 13 had already been completed. An important event in 2013 was the annual conference on Swiss Cooperation with Eastern Europe on the theme of the importance, impact and potential of the enlargement contribution, at which project staff reported on their experiences.
Local initiatives are strengthening economically weak regions in the new EU member states and creating employment. An interim evaluation of ten regional development projects in Poland shows that the implementation of the projects is largely going according to plan and already producing results.
Switzerland supports the climate change mitigation and the environment protection measures in Poland. The 23 Environment and Infrastructure projects received CHF 199 million funding, out of the total CHF 489 million allocated for Poland. The projects deal with 1) Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources; 2) Waste disposal; 3) Public transport; 4) Biodiversity. The projects are implemented by the local self-governments and NGOs and often involve local population.A selection of projects illustraes ongoing activities in various countries, themes and areas of activity.
Swiss Cooperation with Eastern Europe - Supporting the transition to democracy and a social market economy
By voting in favour of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe on 26 November 2006, Swiss voters cleared the way for a billion-franc investment in the ten countries which joined the European Union in 2004. Following Parliament’s approval of the relevant framework credit on 14 June 2007, the enlargement contribution finally came into being. Five years on, the initial project approval phase has been completed. These projects will be implemented up to 2017. This brochure provides a host of interesting facts and background information on the projects and the countries in which these projects are being implemented.
On 14 June 2012 the commitment period for Switzerland’s enlargement contribution for the EU-10 came to an end. During this time, Switzerland approved 210 projects with the partner countries. With that, Switzerland’s contribution of one billion francs to the EU-10 has been fully committed. As of the end of 2012, 11 projects had been completed. For Bulgaria and Romania, the commitment period ends in December 2014. As of the end of 2012, Switzerland had given its provisional approval for five project ideas in Bulgaria and Romania, with a total budget of CHF 54.2 million; and final approval for all 13 thematic funds and 11 individual project applications, with a total budget of CHF 133.6 million. This means that 77% of the project budget for Bulgaria and Romania has been provisionally or definitively committed. The annual report provides a more detailed look at the progress made on the projects in 2012.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.
The approval process for projects within the frame of the Switzerland's Enlargement Contribution unfolded in a satisfactory manner. Numerous projects that had been approved in the previous years were able to be further implemented according to plan. 14 June 2012 marks the end of the commitment period for the Enlargement Contribution to the benefit of the EU 10. After the commitment period has come to an end, the competent authorities in Switzerland and in the partner countries will provide information on all of the approved projects. A first status report is planned to be published in June and an expanded status report in autumn 2012.
The Swiss enlargement contribution for the benefit of the twelve new EU member states is bearing fruit. The first projects have been concluded and numerous project proposals approved. Switzerland has also signed bilateral-cooperation programme agreements with Romania and Bulgaria. The Annual Report 2010 represents an interim review of activities and results.
14 June 2012 marks the expiry date of the five-year period during which Switzerland can approve enlargement contribution projects to assist the EU-10 states. It can thus be assumed that the total amount of CHF 1 billion earmarked is fully committed up to this time as planned, even if there may be some minor delays in a few of the partner states. Switzerland’s enlargement contribution scheme has proved its worth to date and the review has been positive. The final review will happen after 2018 when all projects are completed and the enlargement contribution has been disbursed.
By the end of 2009, 37 projects were definitively approved. They include, inter alia, the promotion of renewable energies, the establishment of a national capital fund for small and medium-sized enterprises, a fund for research projects, as well as projects to improve school transport and the situation of children in children’s homes. In addition, 68 preliminary project proposals were also approved which now have to be transformed into detailed project proposals.
The Swiss enlargement contribution in support of the new EU Member States successfully entered the implementation phase in 2008. The activity report provides information on the activities and the first results of 2008. The implementation of the enlargement contribution is proceeding as planned in every respect.