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).
From 2006 to 2019, a total of €555 million has been allocated under the Aid Regulation.
The Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) of the European Commission is responsible for the implementation of the EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community,
The DG REFORM coordinates and provides tailor-made technical support to EU countries, in cooperation with the relevant Commission services. The objective is to help EU countries build more effective institutions, stronger governance frameworks and efficient public administrations. Such support reinforces the capacity of EU countries to design and implement policies that support job creation and sustainable growth.
For more information about DG REFORM, please visit: https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/structural-reform-support-service_en
The EU Aid Programme aims to:
- develop and restructuring infrastructure (particularly energy, transport, environment, telecommunications and water supply);
- promote social and economic development in the Turkish Cypriot community (particularly rural development, human resources development, and regional development);
- 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.
An outline of each objective can be found below:
DEVELOPMENT AND RESTRUCTURING OF INFRASTRUCTURE
The first 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 has invested approximately €190 million to support the development and restructuring of infrastructure in the Turkish Cypriot community since 2007. Majority of this budget has been allocated for urgent and necessary construction and renovation works in the environmental protection sector.
The European Commission announced the signature of the new 'Local Infrastructure Facility' delegation agreement with the UNDP in early 2019 with a value of €17.7 million, over a four-year period. It is designed as a transparent mechanism for EU-funded infrastructure investments and aims to provide support for the identification, screening, development, procurement, and physical implementation of relevant local infrastructure investments. Projects will be selected through regular calls for expression of interests to local beneficiaries
1. Environmental Infrastructure
a. Water and Wastewater
Under the EU Aid Programme an overall €122.5 million has been allocated to improve the community’s water and wastewater infrastructure.
The 2006 programme allocated €84 million to the water and wastewater sectors. This included the replacement of old water 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.
Wastewater 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 2018, the European Commission signed a €10.9 million contract for the construction of the new Nicosia Trunk Sewer, to increase the capacity of the main trunk sewer carrying sewage to the bi-communal wastewater treatment plant in Mia Milia/Haspolat.
The European Commission also signed a €2.1 million contract for the construction of an irrigation system for the reuse of Morphou/Güzelyurt Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) treated wastewater. A water reservoir and an irrigation water distribution system will be constructed to enable the safe re-use of 500 000 m3 per year of high-quality water to irrigate local crops and orchards.
b. Solid Waste
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).
The first EU financed project for a solid waste storage facility (Phase I) at Koutsoventis/Güngor, started operation in 2012 with an investment of approximately €3.5 million. The initial design of the facility foresaw a solid waste storage capacity to meet the demands for the Turkish Cypriot community for approximately 10 years, Phase I of which has now reached capacity.
The second EU-financed project, which was initiated in 2018 with an approximate budget of €4 million, includes capacity extension and additional technical installations. The completion of Phase II extends the solid waste acceptance capacity for the Turkish Cypriot community until approximately 2030.
c. Natura 2000
Since 2009, the European Union allocated more than €5 million for investments in nature protection. The Turkish Cypriot community received several supplies, such as vehicles, a computerised forest fire detection system and equipment for monitoring and managing nature protection.
Seven areas in the Turkish Cypriot community have been declared Specially Protected Areas, because of their fragility and the pressures they are currently under. Training sessions and seminars were organised where experts from the EU Member States outlined the EU requirements and shared their experience in the areas of nature protection and biodiversity. Management plans were also provided in line with the requirements of the Natura 2000 directives to ensure their effective protection.
2. Energy Infrastructure
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.
3. Telecommunications Infrastructure
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 more than €10 million for telecommunications network infrastructure to upgrade the landline network by providing an Internet Protocol (IP) based infrastructure called Next Generation Network (NGN).
4. Road Traffic Safety
The EU has provided approximately €3 million in funds and technical assistance for the improvement of traffic infrastructure and traffic safety between 2009 and 2013. The programme has helped improve the standards of vehicle inspection, the collection, and treatment of data in case of collisions 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”. The EU also provided further technical assistance to support 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 in the Turkish Cypriot community.
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.
1. Rural Development
Supporting rural development has been a major component of the EU 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 support to more than 270 rural development and community development projects in 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 EU funded Grant Support Team website: http://www.tcceugrantsupport.eu/.
The sub-sectors of the RDSP were 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 Turkish Cypriot community continue today, with a technical assistance project with a budget of €2.4 million.
The EU supported four Rural Development grant schemes, with a total of €13.8 million by end 2015 with more than 200 projects finalised under these grant schemes. These schemes contributed to improving innovation, competitiveness and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Turkish Cypriot community. It supported modern equipment for farms, sustainable farming methods and small-scale processing investments to strengthen the agricultural production sector and increase the diversification of activities. Visit the EU funded Grant Support Team website: http://www.tcceugrantsupport.eu/.
From 2015 onwards, support to rural development has continued with technical assistance on advisory services and a grant scheme on support to investment on agriculture. For the grant scheme, approximately €5 million has been allocated and the contracts were signed in 2020.
b. Animal Health and Husbandry
Overall, more than €15 million was allocated to improve the performance of the livestock sector, in particular animal production and health. Assistance 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 Grant Scheme. Furthermore, to improve the diagnostic capacity of the veterinary services, lab equipment worth €1.12 million was procured.
Initiated in 2015, a €2.5 million programme to control and eradicate animal diseases 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.
The EU technical assistance further improved capacities of veterinary specialists to prevent, control and eradicate animal diseases, with a new contract signed in December 2017 for a total of €1.35 million and running until February 2020.
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 operationalise the animal by-products management system.
Moreover, in 2018 the Commission signed a new €2.4 million works contract to support the construction of an animal waste disposal system in the Turkish Cypriot community. The objective is to improve public health, animal health and the environment by implementing a system for the collection, transport and disposal of materials of animal origin that people do not consume (animal by-products).
c. Community Development
The Community Development Programme has initially started as an integral part of the RDSP and aimed to improve the living conditions of people living in rural areas in the Turkish Cypriot community. 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.
Since 2008, Community Development funds for rural communities have been channelled via three call for proposals, launched respectively in 2008, 2009, and 2013. These grant schemes have supported 44 projects, with a total investment of €13.5 million. EU-supported projects include support to civil society organisations and local communities in rural areas.
For the fourth Call for Proposals launched in 2016 with a total of €4.8 million, the EU support is provided to rural and urban local communities in order to increase the efficiency and the quality of services delivered to citizens by local communities in the Turkish Cypriot community.
Read more about Community Development on the EU funded Grant Support Team website: http://www.tcceugrantsupport.eu/
2. Human Resources Development
The main 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 assisting in the creation of more and better jobs by improving the adaptability of workers and enterprises. Overall, €14.8 million has been allocated to support this objective through grants, technical assistance and equipment supply. EU support in the Human Resources Development sector has made a substantial contribution to the upgrading of infrastructure in Turkish Cypriot schools, providing teachers and students with access to modern teaching and learning tools as well as improving 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, with main outcomes of improving capacities, introducing new teaching and learning methods, and creation of a 'vision and mission' for the education sector. Then, the technical assistance project, the Vocational Education, Training and Labour Market (VETLAM) I 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 was operational from November 2015 for three years to improve the VET and Lifelong Learning (LLL) systems and employability.
In addition, €0.7 million worth of supplies were provided to improve the capacity of vocational education and training institutions.
A total of €8 million has been allocated through grants during 7 calls for proposals for schools and LLL organisations and 3 calls for proposals for the private sector to improve their labour force. The Aid Programme has provided grants to 138 projects to support schools, lifelong learning organisations and the labour market in the community. The impacts of this support are already visible, as improved education and training standards are nurturing a more skilled and adaptable workforce.
Under 2018 programme, €1.35 million was allocated for a new project which will help develop the curricula for all vocational education and training across skilled occupations. The project will build on the success in this area so far and continue to work together with businesses and trainers.
3. Private Sector Development
The Private Sector Development Programme supports Turkish Cypriot small and medium enterprises (SMEs) 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.
Technical assistance projects implemented between 2010 and 2018 with budgets totalling to €5.2 million mainly targeted sustainable economic development, ICT as well as building capacity of local stakeholders and enhancing competitiveness in the sector. Furthermore, over 150 beneficiaries have received grants for a total of €18 million.
You may read more about the Private Sector Development Programme for SMEs on the following website: www.tcceugrantsupport.eu
In February 2016, a new facility to support the Turkish Cypriot private sector was launched in cooperation with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). This facility combines access to finance with the provision of know-how and advice, whereby the EU contributes €1.95 million for the ‘know-how’ component and the EBRD provides €25 million for the access to finance component, over a period of four years. By December 2019, more than 70 consultancy projects were approved.
In December 2018, the European Commission signed a €3 million delegation agreement with Northern Ireland Cooperation Overseas (NI-CO) to implement the project "Innovative Entrepreneurship and Dialogue." The three-year project is working to encourage more people to set up a business in the Turkish Cypriot community, provide practical technical support to anyone setting up a business, help enhance the support structure for new and existing businesses and encourage businesses to be more innovative. It also aims at opening up shared spaces for innovation, inclusive and entrepreneurial engagement, community dialogue and knowledge sharing.
You may read more on the “Innovative Entrepreneurship and Dialogue” Project at www.inovatif.eu.
In addition, The World Bank monitored economic progress and produced specialist reports until the end of 2014 under the Economic Analysis Programme for Growth and Sustainable Development, aiming to assist economic convergence in Cyprus. In line with the priorities in the framework of the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, an additional envelope of €4.8 million was contracted in 2017 for the continuation of the engagement of the World Bank to build on the analytical and advisory work done so far and to continue providing advice to the Turkish Cypriot community until December 2020.
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.
It includes 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.
1. EU Contribution to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus
The European Commission, together with the European Parliament, provided a total financial contribution of €28 million to the project up to 2020. This funding amounts to 75% of the overall funding provided to the CMP in 13 years. 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 a proper burial and close a long period of anguish and uncertainty. Since the project’s inception in 2006, 974 individuals have been returned to their families out of 2002 declared missing. Read more about CMP on their website: http://www.cmp-cyprus.org/
The European Commission supports the work of bi-communal Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientific teams involved in all the stages of the process as well as awareness-raising activities. These activities contribute to achieving a better understanding of mutual concerns and foster cooperation between the Cypriot communities. Additionally, the CMP humanitarian mandate contributes to providing relief to the families of missing persons.
The EU has been the main financial contributor to de-mining, providing €11.5 million out of the €14 million 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 on the UNDP Cyprus website.
3. Cultural Heritage
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 87 cultural heritage sites were supported. The European Union has provided almost €20 million in support since 2012 for island-wide preservations and restorations.
Read more about EU-funded Cultural Heritage activities on the UNDP Cyprus website.
In 2019, 40 Heritage Youth Ambassadors were selected from a diverse group of committed and inspiring young Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who are leading efforts to promote and preserve the rich and diverse cultural heritage in Cyprus. Their primary role is to support the work of the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage. Heritage Youth Ambassadors acts as the “youth voice” of the TCCH and they are mandated by the committee to reach out to and engage with the young people of Cyprus.
4. 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.
Six calls for proposals were launched during the period 2007-2018 for a total amount of €11.8 million. 70 projects for civil society organisations were supported under these grant schemes. The aim was to strengthen the organisational capacities, outreach and impact of civil society in promoting and defending democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, cultural diversity and reconciliation and to reinforce partnerships, cooperation and networking across Cyprus and/or with CSOs from other EU Member States to jointly address societal needs. Finally, in 2019, as part of the call for proposal “Together Against Human Trafficking” the European Commission signed four contracts for just under €770.000, aiming at preventing and addressing trafficking in human beings in the Turkish Cypriot community.
In parallel to these grant schemes, a Civil Society Support Team (CSST) provided technical assistance and capacity building to Civil Society Organisations between 2007-2010. The second technical assistance project, Civic Space started in 2015 running until September 2020, with an aim to strengthen the role of civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community; to promote EU values and to help develop a conducive environment for enhanced trust, dialogue, cooperation and relationships between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. For more information please visit Civic Space at: www.civicspace.eu.
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.
1. EU Infopoint
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 about 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. The next EU Infopoint contract commenced in 2015 and operated until January 2020, with a total budget of €3 million. At the end of 2019, the European Commission signed another contract with a budget of €1.9 million for the continuity of the EU Infopoint activities until the end of 2022.
2. 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.
3. 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 study and discover another EU Member State [including Cyprus].
The European Commission granted scholarships to more than 1,500 students, teachers, researchers and professionals between the years 2006-2019 for a total budget of almost €27 million for undergraduate and graduate studies, research and training purposes in EU Member States. Since 2014, the British Council is implementing the scholarship project on behalf of the European Commission.
The “EU Scholarships for the Turkish Cypriot community Programme for the Academic Year 2020/21” is expected to award more grants to approximately 130 Turkish Cypriot students, graduates and professionals. Read more about EU Scholarships for the Turkish Cypriot community here: http://www.abburs.eu/en/
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.
1. 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 3,500 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.
2. 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 2018 was €4.85 million.
Read more about the Green Line Regulation and the annual export statistics here: https://www.ktto.net/en/green-line-trade-statistics/?lang=en
Check the annual reports on the implementation of the Green Line Regulation here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/annual-reports-implementation-green-line-regulation_en