euro notes

Algarve in race against time to avoid losing EU funding

The region could miss out on €63 million-worth of EU funding

The Algarve is at serious risk of missing out on around €63 million-worth of European Union funding unless it substantially speeds up its funding-allocation process, the president of the region’s development commission CCDR Algarve said this week.

As José Apolinário told Eco news website, the Algarve has to attribute €63.73 million in funding via the Algarve 2020 programme before the end of 2023 – a challenge that demands an allocation rate four times faster than what’s been accomplished so far this year.

In a nutshell, falling short of this objective would mean giving back funds to Brussels. To speed up the process, beneficiaries of the programme have been reminded of the urgency of the process. Additionally, certain projects will receive more funding, Apolinário revealed.

According to the programme’s monthly bulletin, only 80% of the funding earmarked for the Algarve has already been used, meaning that €254 million of the €318 million earmarked has been allocated.

To put matters into perspective, Algarve2020 had the “lowest regional programme execution rate” within the entire EU support framework at the end of June 2023.

As a result, CCDR Algarve is implementing various measures to speed up fund allocation.

“We have once again reached out to all beneficiaries, emphasising the need to complete all procedures promptly,” he said.

According to Apolinário, special focus will be placed on ensuring that funding goes to municipal projects, especially those related to cycling paths and energy efficiency, which currently have the lowest completion rates.

He revealed that Algarve municipalities have ongoing projects worth €16 million, including €7 million allocated for cycling paths and energy efficiency projects.

Meanwhile, the region’s business sector has €15 million which have yet to be successfully allocated to  projects related to “productive innovation and internationalisation”, followed closely by beneficiaries of the European Social Fund which have €14 million earmarked for ongoing projects. The University of Algarve and Scientific and Technological Infrastructure projects have around €12 million left to be allocated. This includes the first phase of the Algarve Biomedical Center’s Clinical Research Center (ABC) in Loulé and the Celerator technology park at the Algarve International Racetrack in Portimão. Lastly, ongoing investments in social facilities amount to €3 million, the CCDR boss said.

Apolinário also highlighted the pending approval by the European Commission of the reprogramming proposal submitted late in 2022. This proposal takes into account the “impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the region and, consequently, on the programme’s completion.”

By Michael Bruxo

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