EU program to support Turkish entrepreneurs

Turkish entrepreneurs will have access to funds amounting to 30 million euros under an EU grant program, which was designated as a single budget for harmonization in a number of social areas.

EU program to support Turkish entrepreneurs
The European Union, having decided to lend some support to Turkish economy, society and restructuring after a recent summit in Helsinki, is preparing to make available loans amounting to 30 million euros in 2008. Previous EU loans and grants have contributed greatly to the development of Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.


Because of a Greek veto, EU funds provided to Turkey between 1964 and 1999 were limited to 13 million euros. In the past Turkey has had to obtain loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) at low interest rates to close this gap.

Funds made available by the EU

The EU designated a single budget for the grants, stipulated that these funds should be used for EU harmonization and established a decentralized structure for member countries. Under this budget, Turkey was given 127 million euros for its 2002 national program, 138 million euros for 2003, 231.1 million for 2004, 265 million for 2005, 432 million for 2006, 45 million for the Eastern Anatolia Development Program, 10 million for the bird flu program and 2 million for the Administrative Cooperation Program, totaling 1.253 billion euros. In this period, Turkey received EU grants totaling 234 million euros.

Under the provisions of the grants contract, of the 232.1 million euros municipalities will receive 73 million, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) 47 million, associations 17 million, rural affairs units 17 million, chambers 15 million, provincial administrations 11 million and foundations 10 million while unions, cooperatives, agricultural groups and village administrations will be given 5 million each. Schools and trade unions will also receive a share.

Turkey's negotiations for full membership have begun, allowing Turkey to utilize funds from the EU's grant programs as part of institutional capacity development, cross-border cooperation, regional development, and human resources and rural development projects.

New opportunities from the EU for 2008

Projects for which the EU will make grants available include the following:

Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) under the grant program for active employment measures (16 million euros), Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) administration under social support grant program for minimizing flood risks in flood-prone areas in southeastern Anatolia (2.2 million euros), GAP administration under the grant program for the physical planning and investment for minimizing flood risks in flood-prone areas in southeastern Anatolia (12.8 million euros) and the civil society development grant program (0.9 million euros).

In 28 provinces where the grant program for active employment measures is implemented, entrepreneurs are granted between 50,000 and 400,000 euros if they are registered with İŞKUR and plan to increase women and youth employment. At least 10 percent of the project budget is provided by the applicant. Beneficiaries of this program include provincial administrations, rural services units, municipalities, chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of tradesmen and artisans, professional organizations, universities, organized industrial zones, nonprofit cooperatives, personnel training centers, associations and foundations. Innovative employment projects will receive a greater share of the funds. A similar project launched in 2004 helped 48,780 people and created jobs for 7,542 people.

Civil society support program

The civil society development grant program is another big opportunity for Turkish entrepreneurs as the EU plans to make available funds totaling 900,000 euros for it. Applicants are granted between 10,000 and 30,000 euros under this program. The purpose of this grant program is to strengthen civil society organizations and improve participatory democracy in Turkey. This program is applicable to the whole of Turkey; however, civil society organizations in Adana, Mersin, Niğde, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adıyaman, Denizli, Manisa, Uşak, Aydın, Muğla, Burdur, Isparta, Diyarbakır, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Siirt, Batman, Şırnak, Elazığ, Bingöl, Eskişehir, Bilecik, Kütahya, Afyon, Bursa and Adapazarı will receive 400,000 euros under this program. Beneficiaries include associations and foundations operating in the fields of human rights, the environment, rights of women and children, the youth, the disabled and cultural rights.

New opportunities in the GAP region

Following a devastating flood in Batman and Diyarbakır in 2006, the EU developed a grant program to minimize the flood risk in the GAP region. The deadline for application is May 5, 2008. The purpose of the program is to compensate for social and economic losses caused by the flood. The program will be implemented in Batman, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Siirt, Şanlıurfa and Şırnak. Beneficiaries will be granted 30,000 and 150,000 euros under this program, which will total 2.2 million euros. Beneficiaries for this program include provincial administrations, regional and provincial directorates of public institutions, village administrations and rural services units.

In connection to the flood relief program, the EU is also conducting a physical planning and investment program. Total funds to be provided under this program amount to 12.8 million euros, of which 9.6 million euros will be provided by the EU and 3.2 million euros by Turkey. Under this program, beneficiary will be granted between 90,000 and 1.8 million euros. This scheme intends to ensure development and/or improvement of infrastructure to prevent future floods and to provide fundamental requirements for the creation of local capacity for a rapid response to floods. The program will be implemented in Batman, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Siirt, Şanlıurfa and Şırnak.

Beneficiaries of this program include provincial administrations, regional and provincial directorates of public institutions and rural services units.

Under this program, projects for increasing public awareness of flood prevention and overall preparedness for natural disasters, providing vocational training to groups affected by floods and those at risk, developing small scale development activities and providing health services (psychological support, hygiene, child healthcare, etc.) will be assessed.

Support to active employment

The deadline for the grant program for active employment measures is April 16, 2008. Beneficiaries of this program include provincial administrations, rural services units, municipalities, chambers of industry and commerce, chamber of tradesmen and artisans, professional organizations, universities, vocational and technical training institutions, organized industrial zones, organizations representing SMEs, trade unions and employer unions, nonprofit cooperatives and personnel training centers. Beneficiaries are granted between 50,000 and 400,000 euros. Under this 16 million euro program, projects for developing employment opportunities for unemployed women and young people are financed.

Projects from İstanbul, Bursa, Tekirdağ, Sakarya, Kocaeli, İzmir, Manisa, Denizli, Aydın, Antalya, Balıkesir, Ankara, Kayseri, Konya, Zonguldak, Çorum, Samsun, Sivas, Trabzon, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Hatay, Mersin, Adana, Kahramanmaraş and Malatya will receive support under this program.

Beneficiaries for this program include civil society organizations, institutes, universities, chambers, professional organizations, farmers' associations, trade unions, municipalities, provincial administrations, regional and provincial directorates of public institutions, village administrations and rural services units.

Sunday's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Şubat 2008, 16:30
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