EU Aid Programme
THE EU AID PROGRAMME FOR THE TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY
The Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, based on Council Regulation 389/2006, aims at facilitating the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island, on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and on preparation for the EU body of laws (also referred to as acquis communautaire).
Since 2006, more than EUR 450 million has been allocated under the Aid Regulation.
The programme, divided in five objectives, aims to:
- promote social and economic development in the Turkish Cypriot community (particularly rural, human resources and regional development);
- develop and refurbish infrastructure (particularly energy, transport, environment, telecommunications and water supply);
- foster reconciliation, build confidence and support civil society;
- bring the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU, through information and contacts between Turkish Cypriots and other EU citizens;
- help the Turkish Cypriot community prepare for the implementation of EU law once a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue is agreed.
The Aid programme is managed in accordance with the EU external aid rules, through direct and indirect management.
An outline of each objective can be found below:
1- PROMOTING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
The EU Aid Programme promotes the medium to long-term social and economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community aiming to reduce the development gap and ensure the longer-term ability of the Turkish Cypriot community to promote sustainable development within a reunified Cyprus and within the EU.
The key sectors targeted under this objective are: Rural Development, Human Resources Development and Private Sector Development.
Supporting rural development is a major component of the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community. The main objectives of the Rural Development Sector Programme (RDSP) are to help improve living conditions in rural areas while protecting the environment and developing more sustainable usage of natural resources.
Through the RDSP, the EU has provided more than €55 million in support to the Turkish Cypriot community. This has been in the form of investment support through a series of grant schemes; technical assistance and capacity building; supplies; as well as providing guidance for the future adoption of EU rules and regulations. Find out more on the RDSP website: http://www.tccruraldevelopment.eu/.
The sub-sectors of the RDSP are the following:
Technical assistance on crop husbandry has provided services and raised awareness among farmers and other stakeholders on new techniques and best practice in agriculture. Advisory services to further improve farming practices in the northern part of Cyprus continue today.
The EU financed three Rural Development grant schemes, starting in 2013 for a total of €3 million. These schemes contributed to improving theinnovativeness, competitiveness and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the northern part of Cyprus. These new schemes supported modern equipment for farms, sustainable farming methods and small scale processing investments to strengthen the agricultural production sector and increase diversification of activities and valorisation of rural cultural heritage.
Visit the RDSP website for more information: http://www.tccruraldevelopment.eu/
- ANIMAL HEALTH AND HUSBANDRY
Overall more than €10 million was allocated to improve the performance of the livestock sector in particular animal production and health. Assistance to improve animal production and health is provided to livestock owners (especially dairy producers), and veterinary services, in order to control and eventually eradicate contagious animal diseases and zoonosis. Technical training to livestock owners was initiated in 2008 with a €2.1 million programme implemented until 2012. At the same time grants to dairy farmers were availed in the amount of €3.5 million to improve production under the Rural Development Grants Scheme. Furthermore to improve the diagnostic capacity of the veterinary services, lab equipment worth €660,000 was procured.
New initiatives started in 2014 with a €500,000 programme to design and implement a management system for animal by-products. Equipment worth €1.8 million, including incinerators, refrigerated containers, and vehicles, were procured to operationalize the animal by products management system. €1.7 million programme to control and eradicate animal diseases. Technical assistance has helped to strengthen the capacity of veterinary services to secure and monitor compliance with animal health standards and other requirements for control and prevention of animal diseases.
Read more about the work on Animal Health and Husbandry on the RDSP website: http://www.tccruraldevelopment.eu/
- COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Community Development Programme is an integral part of the RDSP and aims to improve the living conditions of people living in rural areas in the northern part of Cyprus. It is inspired by the LEADER initiative, a key component of the EU Rural Development policy to increase local governance and improve local capacities in rural areas.
The programme takes the form of investment support through a series of grant schemes/Calls for Proposals. Community Development funds have been channelled via three previous calls, launched respectively in 2008, 2009 and 2013. These grant schemes have supported 44 projects so far, with a total investment of over €12 million. A new call was launched in April 2016 with a total value of almost €5 million for local communities.
EU-supported projects include support to civil society organizations and local communities in rural areas. The wide range of activities includes training of villagers in handicrafts; improving language and computer skills; provision of equipment for disabled people and equipping community centres. Read more about Community Development on the RDSP website: http://www.tccruraldevelopment.eu/
HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
The overall objective of the Human Resources Development programme is to assist the Turkish Cypriot community in reforming the education sector in order to enhance human resource development and to assist in the creation of more and better jobs by improving adaptability of workers and enterprises and increasing investment in human capital. Overall, € 13 million has been allocated until 2016 to support this objective through grants, technical assistance and equipment. EU support in Human Resources Development sector has made a substantial contribution to the upgrading of infrastructure in Turkish Cypriot schools, providing teachers and students alike with access to modern teaching and learning tools as well as improving the labour market practices.
A total of €4.8 million has been allocated through Technical Assistance projects since 2008. In the field of education a technical assistance project called the ROPSE Project was implemented from 2008 to 2011 with a value of €1.4 million. The main outcomes were: the improvement of the capacity of school inspectors, introduction of child/student-centred teaching and learning methods, and creation of a 'vision and mission' for the education sector. To develop and improve the labour market, a technical assistance project, the Vocational Education, Training and Labour Market (VETLAM) I Project ran from 2008 to 2012 with a value of €1.8 million. The purpose of this assistance was to establish a system for upgrading the skills of the labour force and to improve the quality of the vocational education and training (VET) system. VETLAM II with a total value of €1.6 million has been operational since November 2015 for three years to improve the VET and Life Long Learning (LLL) systems as well as improving employability. .
In total € 0.7 million worth of supplies were provided to improve the capacity of vocational education and training institutions.
A total of €7.5 million has been allocated through grants during 7 calls for proposals for schools and LLL organizations and 3 calls for proposals for private sector to improve their labour force. As part of grants for schools and LLL organizations, until 2016 a total of 97 school and LLL projects received grants with a total of €4.6 million. A total of €1.5 million has also been allocated for the 7th Call for Proposals for schools and LLLs, which was launched in July 2016. As part of grants for "Making the Labour Market More Inclusive" during 2008 and 2010, 31 projects were completed with a total amount of € 1.4 million.
PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
The Private Sector Development Programme supports Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs in improving their competitiveness through modernising their products and services, with particular emphasis on the preservation of natural resources and the creation of jobs. The programme offers technical assistance and financial support to Turkish Cypriot limited companies and sole proprietorships.
Since 2009 more than 300 local companies have utilised the services of EU experts and over 100 have received financial support in the form of co-shared grants for a total of €20 million. Read more about Private Sector Developments on the following links: http://www.tcceconomicdevelopment.eu/ and http://www.undp-pff.org/index.php
In February 2016, a new facility to support the Turkish Cypriot private sector was launched in cooperation with the EBRD, that combines access to finance with the provision of know-how and advice, whereby the EU contributes €1.65 million for the ‘know-how’ component and the EBRD provides €25 million for the access to finance component, over a period of four years.
2- DEVELOPMENT AND RESTRUCTURING OF INFRASTRUCTURE
The second objective of the EU Aid Programme addresses gaps in key infrastructure and related service provision in the Turkish Cypriot community – in particular water supply, energy, telecommunications, and transport.
The EU invested more than €200 million to support the development and restructuring of infrastructure in the Turkish Cypriot community since 2007. Most of this budget has been allocated for urgent and necessary construction and renovation works in the environmental protection sector.
Water and Waste Water
The 2006 programme allocated €84 million to the water and waste water sectors. This included the replacement of old asbestos pipes in water distribution networks in Nicosia, Kioneli/Gönyeli, Lefka/Lefke, Kyrenia/Girne, Famagusta and Morphou/Güzelyurt. New water and sewerage networks were constructed in the cities of Morphou/Güzelyurt and Famagusta. After the replacement of old water distribution networks, most Turkish Cypriots are now able to drink tap water again.
Waste water treatment plants (WWTP) were built, serving the cities of Morphou/Güzelyurt, Famagusta and Nicosia (bi-communal project). The new bi-communal WWTP in Nicosia serves a population of 270,000 people and is able to treat an average of 30,000 m3 /day.
In the period 2012-2014 the European Commission allocated another €14.5 million for the agricultural reuse of reclaimed water from waste water treatment plants and for additional investments in sewerage networks.
The 2006 programme allocated €19.5 million for the solid waste sector. The projects covered short-term priority measures foreseen in the solid waste master plan adopted by the Turkish Cypriot community in 2008.
These included the construction of a central sanitary non-hazardous landfill in Koutsoventis/Güngör which also includes a small-scale hazardous waste storage facility, the construction of a waste transfer station in Famagusta, the supply of long-haul tracks and of a small-scale treatment facility for infectious medical waste at the Nicosia public hospital, the restoration of the Dikomo/Dikmen dumpsite near Nicosia, the supply of a semi-mobile construction and demolition waste pre-conditioning facility and of a green waste compost unit.
During 2012 to 2014, the European Commission allocated another €6 million for increasing the solid waste management capacity, including works for the second phase of the Koutsoventis/Güngör landfill, the construction of an additional leachate treatment unit, the upgrade of a medical waste sterilisation facility and the supply of waste tracks. In addition, €7 million was allocated in 2015 for solid waste management facilities and interventions (closure of dumpsters, waste trucks, and transfer stations).
Since 2009, the European Union allocated €5.2 million for investments in nature protection. The Turkish Cypriot community received several supplies, such as vehicles, a computerized forest fire detection system and equipment for monitoring and managing nature protection. The EU also funded projects to establish Nature Protection Facilities at potential Natura 2000 sites.
An €11.44 million programme on energy efficiency was implemented between 2008 and 2013. This programme aimed at improving the monitoring of energy consumption by installing 21,000 remote-controlled electronic meters and by setting up a laboratory for testing and calibration of metering instruments. It also aimed to demonstrate the potential of solar power as a key energy source in Cyprus by installing the first solar power plant for a capacity of 1.2 MW and to facilitate the interconnection of the grids. The solar power plant has been fully operational since 2011.
The EU has been providing support to the Turkish Cypriot community’s telecom sector since 2009, in order to align it with EU standards. The EU funded a €10 million infrastructure project to upgrade the landline network by providing an Internet Protocol (IP) based infrastructure called Next Generation Network (NGN).
ROAD TRAFFIC SAFETY
The EU has provided a total of €2.4 million in funds and technical assistance for the improvement of traffic infrastructure and traffic safety between 2009 and 2013. The main activities took place under the supervision of a Joint Steering Committee bringing together the Turkish Cypriot community representatives in the sector and the EC.
The programme helped improve the standards of vehicle inspection, the collection and treatment of data in case of collision and the operational management of traffic. It also enabled the development of a highway plan to address current and future mobility needs and to eliminate some of the traffic accident “black spots”. As part of this action the European Union also financed a successful awareness campaign for the use of safety belts by the Turkish Cypriot citizens.
The EU is now continuing to provide a technical assistance for the implementation of actions aiming to align the rules and the practices with international and EU standards in the domains of vehicle registration, driving licensing and vehicle inspection.
3- FOSTERING RECONCILIATION, CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES AND SUPPORT TO CIVIL SOCIETY
The aim of the work in these areas is to increase mutual trust and understanding between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities and to increase dialogue, contacts, and cooperation. Activities support the work of civil society as well as the process of confidence-building and reconciliation between the two communities.
The range of this objective covers the continuous support to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), the de-mining of designated areas, the protection of the island's rich cultural heritage, civil society development and confidence building educational activities.
EU CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMITTEE ON MISSING PERSONS IN CYPRUS
The EU contributes over 70% of the budget for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP). The European Commission, together with the European Parliament, provided a total financial contribution of €19.9 million to the project up to 2016. The primary objective of the bi-communal CMP project is to enable relatives of missing persons to recover the remains of their loved ones, arrange for proper burial and close a long period of anguish and uncertainty. Since the project’s inception in 2006, 747 individuals have been returned to their families out of the 2001 declared missing. Read more about CMP on their website: http://www.cmp-cyprus.org/
The European Union has been the main financial contributor to de-mining, providing 11.5 million € out of the 14 million euros required for demining and logistical support. As a result of these efforts, over 27,000 land mines have been removed from the buffer zone, 81 minefields have been declared mine free, and 10,985,338 square meters of land have been released and returned to their original use. Read more about mine clearance in Cyprus on the UNDP- PFF website:
The European Commission has been providing funds to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH) in order to preserve cultural heritage across the whole island of Cyprus. The TCCH was established in 2008 as a bi-communal initiative under UN auspices. It is dedicated to the implementation of practical measures for the proper preservation, physical protection and restoration (including research, study and survey) of the immovable cultural heritage of Cyprus.
The protection of cultural heritage is an integral part of the on-going process of broadening areas of cooperation and confidence building between the two communities. Under the title “Support to Cultural Heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus” more than 20 cultural heritage sites have been restored. The European Union has provided € 8.1 million in support since 2012 for island-wide preservations and restorations. Read more about Cultural Heritage activities on the UNDP-PFF web-site:
CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT
Strengthening civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community is a key factor in the development of a culture of dialogue, participation in community life, and the promotion of values of tolerance, peace, and active citizenship. The programme supports reconciliation, dialogue, closer relationships and trust between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.
Five calls for proposals were launched during the period 2007-2015 for a total amount of €9.5 million. In parallel to these grant schemes, a Civil Society Support Team (CSST) provided technical assistance and capacity building to Civil Society Organisations. A new support team called Civic Space, with a similar mandate, started its operations in September 2015. The Civil Society Forum (CSF), a platform where CSOs can express their expectations and priorities, was launched in 2015. The CSF acts as a catalyst for advocacy of CSOs and promotes active citizenship.
Thanks to EU support for civil society development in the Turkish Cypriot community, local awareness about the role of civil society is increasing; civil society organisations have emerged with advocacy efforts on various topics.
4- BRINGING THE TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY CLOSER TO THE EU
The fourth objective of the EU Aid Programme facilitates contacts and communication between the Turkish Cypriot community and the EU, and promotes mutual understanding and awareness.
The two main areas of work under this objective include the ‘EU Infopoint’ which aims to provide information about EU-related topics, exchanges, and the EU Scholarship Programme.
The aim of the EU Infopoint is to promote EU policies and the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, as well as to increase knowledge of the EU among Turkish Cypriots through seminars, workshops, social media, information products, campaigns and visibility events. The first EU Infopoint operated from 2009 to 2013 with a budget of €1.6 million. A new EU Infopoint opened in 2015 with an equivalent budget.
PROMOTION OF YOUTH EXCHANGES AND OTHER PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE CONTACTS
A number of exchange programmes for Turkish Cypriots have been funded in order to increase understanding of European values, experiences and multicultural traditions. A total of 15 projects totalling €800,000 have been awarded under two grant schemes for the promotion of youth exchanges and other people-to-people contacts.
THE EU SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME FOR THE TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY
The European Commission has been awarding scholarship grants to Turkish Cypriot students, graduates, and professionals since 2006 to provide them with opportunities to go abroad in order to study and discover another EU Member States [including Cyprus].
Under this grant scheme, more than 1,000 scholarships were awarded to undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers, researchers and professionals between the years 2006-2016 for a total budget of €14 million. Since 2014, the British Council is implementing the scholarship project on behalf of the European Commission. Read more about EU Scholarships for the Turkish Cypriot community here: http://www.abburs.eu/en/
5- HELPING THE TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY PREPARE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EU ACQUIS FOLLOWING A COMPREHENSIVE SETTLEMENT OF THE CYPRUS ISSUE
This assistance aims to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem by facilitating the Turkish Cypriot community’s preparations for the future application and enforcement of the EU acquis following a comprehensive settlement.
PREPARATION OF LEGAL TEXTS/REINFORCEMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION CAPACITY
The European Commission's Technical Assistance Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument helps prepare the Turkish Cypriot community for the implementation of EU law following a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. EU Member State experts have conducted more than 3,203 technical assistance activities since 2008 such as training courses, workshops, expert missions and study visits in order to support the achievement of the objectives of the Aid Regulation.
FACILITATION OF GREEN LINE TRADE
The development of trade across the Green Line is also supported by TAIEX. EU experts are mobilised to carry out the necessary phytosanitary/veterinary inspections of potatoes, fish and other potential products in order to facilitate Green Line trade. Through the Green Line Trade regulation Turkish Cypriots from different sectors are now able to export their products. The value of trade crossing the Green Line in 2016 was €4.4 million.
Read more about the Green Line Regulation and the annual export statistics on the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.ktto.net