Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed concern that due to red tape Cyprus is failing to tap into EU funds earmarked for job creation and helping small and medium-sized enterprises become more competitive.
They said it often takes up to two years for local authorities to examine and approve applications for the EU co-funded programmes.
Edek MP Elias Myrianthous said that of the nearly €800m allocated to Cyprus for the 2014-2020 programming period, no money has yet been disbursed.
The funds must be absorbed by 2020.
MPs were told by government officials that around €55m is expected to be approved over the next few months.
Officials also promised that during the second half of the year the programmes would be reopened for tender.
Following the briefing at the House, Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said a major problem seemed to be that banks, co-funding the programmes, were placing excessively strict lending terms, thus discouraging prospective applicants.
For the Programming Period 2014-2020, an amount of €788 million has been allocated to Cyprus for the implementation of the EU’s Cohesion Policy. This amount includes, among others, €48.4 million which will be dedicated to the Connecting Europe Facility, €32.7 million for the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes and €3.9 million for the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived.
There will be two Operational Programmes for Cohesion Policy, namely the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, which will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF), and the Operational Programme Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion, co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative.
In the framework of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, with an EU contribution of €561.8 million, interventions will be promoted for the enhancement of competitiveness of the economy through the promotion of interventions for the enhancement of SMEs, the sectors of Research and Development and Information and Communication Technologies, interventions in the sectors of Environment, Energy and Transport, as well as interventions for the promotion of integrated sustainable urban development in deprived areas.