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Cohesion funds: Czech Republic and Bulgaria invest in education

To reduce social and economic disparities among the 27 member states, the EU is putting into practice the EU cohesion policy, which tries to bring out concrete results in areas such as education, employment and economic growth. Each member state decides on the specific details of how the cohesion policy should be implemented in their country but have to submit a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for acceptance.

The EU, through DG Regional Policy, is awarding the cohesion funds for the period 2007-2013 according to the following criteria: eligible population, national wealth, regional wealth and unemployment rate. In terms of specifically investing in higher education and research, the NSRFs of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are two cases to note.

  • The first operating programme in Bulgaria is called The Development of Human Resources Programme and has a budget of 6.8 billion Euro. The programme's goal is to enhance the quality of life through improving the human capital, reaching higher employment levels, increasing the productivity, providing access to better education and life-long learning as well as strengthening the social inclusion. Three different institutions will cooperate on implementing the programme: the Education Ministry, the National Employment Agency and the Social Assistance Agency.
  • The Czech Republic’s EU funding plan is to invest 26.3 billion Euro on initiatives across the country in 17 operational programmes. Among the priorities flagged by the government in its framework are: boosting competitiveness by increasing investment in R&D and developing a modern education system that will drive a more flexible work force.

While these two countries have submitted detailed logical proposals for the management of their cohesion funds, it has yet to be seen if the ambitions will be realised.

Press release