Horizontal priorities are key to the development of society and run across all areas and operational programmes. They should also be respected by all applicants for public funding. In the 2007-2013 programming period, the programmes and projects have to observe the two horizontal priorities of economic and social cohesion policy: equal opportunities and sustainable development. The European Union considers these two topics to be its fundamental policies and principles and, as such, tries to promote them through the structural funds and Cohesion Fund. For this reason, projects that have a negative impact on the environment or could lead to the deterioration of the position of disadvantaged groups must not be supported.
How do you know whether you respect equal opportunities in your programme?
The following examples help to illustrate the fulfilment of the principles of equal opportunities in projects:
- Do you employ individuals with disabilities in your business?
- Do you offer social services to the homeless?
- Do both women and men take part in your training activities in equal numbers?
If so, then you support equal opportunities and have a greater chance of obtaining resources from EU funds.
Although Article 16 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 may in its title reflect only equality between men and women, it then also discusses equality and non-discrimination more broadly:
The Member States and the Commission shall take appropriate steps to prevent any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Further in the text of the regulation, the needs of disabled persons are emphasised.
In the broader concept and understanding of projects financed by the EU funds, however, equal opportunities also pertain to other groups at risk of social exclusion: immigrants and asylum seekers, long-term unemployed, persons with poor qualifications or no qualifications, persons from areas that are difficult to access by transport, drug addicts, released prisoners, and school graduates.
For more information about equal opportunities in projects, visit the article on Equal Opportunities.
How do you know whether you respect sustainable development in your project?
The fulfilment of sustainable development in projects is illustrated by a number of examples:
- Do you wish to acquire new technology that is more environmentally friendly?
- Do you organise training courses covering environmental protection?
- Do you plan to switch to energy saving power sources?
If so, then you support environmental protection and have a greater chance of obtaining resources from EU funds.
Article 17 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 states that the objectives of the Funds shall be pursued in the framework of sustainable development and the promotion of the Community goal of protecting and improving the environment.
However, in the broader context and understanding of projects financed by EU funds, sustainable development is understood as achieving a balance between the economic, social and environment areas.