Cohesion Policy Operational Programmes
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Cohesion Policy Operational Programmes


The overarching framework for the implementation of the EU 2014-2020 funding allocated to Malta, including the main sectors for investment, is set out in the Partnership Agreement of Malta. The strategic thrust identified in the Partnership Agreement is now being taken a step further through the drafting of separate Operational Programmes which narrow down the interventions to be funded under the different ESI Funds. Two Operational Programmes have been drafted as part of the programming process.
Measures supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) are outlined in Operational Programme I, whilst measures supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) are outlined in Operational Programme II. The Operational Programmes set out the investment plan that Government will undertake in the 2014-2020 programming period whereby investments will be directed towards a number of key areas in line with Malta’s priorities as well as the Europe 2020 targets.

Overview of Operational Programmes I and II

The Operational Programmes identify the priority areas in which Government aims to invest during the 2014-2020 period. The documents outline the type of interventions envisaged under the different priority areas as well as the target groups that will benefit from such investments. Although the Operational Programmes complement each other in terms of the overall aim to enhance environmental sustainability and social well-being, whilst fostering competitiveness through economic development and job creation, the programmes support different types of interventions. These interventions are briefly described hereunder[1]:

Operational Programme I (OP I): Fostering a competitive and sustainable economy to meet our challenges

Operational Programme I: Fostering a competitive and sustainable economy to meet our challenges will be jointly funded by the ERDF and the CF. The aim of this Operational Programme is that of increasing economic development, improving environment sustainability, and investing in a more social inclusive society. The Operational Programme focuses on 11 thematic priorities as follows:
Priority Axis 1: Investing in research, technological development and innovation
Under this axis, the OP will support investments in high quality research and innovation facilities in order to stimulate research in strategic areas and enable innovative methods to foster Research and Development within public institutions. In addition, the OP also promotes Business (R&I), particularly through financial incentives for enterprises.
Priority Axis 2: Consolidating investment within the ICT sector
Interventions under this axis aim to strengthen the Digital Economy by increasing the use of e-commerce and e-services as well as consolidating and further developing the provision of e-government services.
Priority Axis 3: Enhancing Malta’s competitiveness through investment in SMEs[2]
Under this priority, the OP will promote interventions aimed at fostering an entrepreneurial environment which is conducive to new ideas and enhancing the creation and development of enterprises including, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and small self employed. Moreover, interventions aimed at nurturing the growth potential of SMEs at regional, national and international level are also supported.
Priority Axis 4: Shifting towards a low-carbon economy 
This priority focuses on supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy by promoting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency within the domestic, industrial and commercial sectors. In addition, efforts to minimise energy use within public infrastructure as a strategic instrument to decarbonise the economy and secure sustainable energy, will also be supported.
Priority Axis 5: Protecting our environment - investing in natural and cultural assets
Interventions under this priority aim to maximise the economic contribution, particularly within the tourism sector, through the preservation, development and promotion of cultural heritage. Moreover, apart from interventions related to Malta’s cultural assets, this priority axis aims to focus on preserving Malta’s natural assets including by improving the status of biodiversity conservation as well as the conservation status of protected areas.
Priority Axis 6: Sustainable Urban Development
The interventions under this priority will be implemented through an integrated approach whereby measures to improve the urban environment in the Harbour area for stronger and sustainable neighbourhoods will be combined with measures to foster an environment which is conducive to economic activity.. Moreover, investment in the social and physical regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods is also supported.
Priority Axis 7: Shifting towards a more low carbon transport sector
Measures under this priority axis aim to promote and facilitate sustainable transportation systems and mobility across the Islands. 
Priority Axis 8: Investing towards a more socially-inclusive society 
Under this axis, measures will focus on strengthening health and social infrastructure.
Priority Axis 9: Developing our future through education, training and lifelong learning
Measures under this priority axis will support education and training facilities for academic and VET institutions.
Priority Axis 10: Investing in a more environmentally friendly society 
This priority focuses on investments in sustainable waste management in line with the waste hierarchy and will support measures that aim to improve the sustainability of water resources particularly through improved management practices leading towards better water quality and enhanced water conservation.
Priority Axis 11: Investing in TEN-T Infrastructure 
The main aim of interventions under this priority is to reduce journey time and improve efficiency and safety within the transport sector through investment in the TEN-T network.  
The full text of the Operational Programme may be downloaded here.

Operational Programme II: Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote  the wellbeing of society

Operational Programme II: Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society will be funded by the ESF. The primary objective of this Operational Programme is that of achieving inclusive growth by fostering an economy which is conducive to economic, social and territorial cohesion. The Operational Programme focuses on 4 thematic priorities as follows:
Priority Axis 1: Investing in the employability and adaptability of human capital 
Interventions under this priority axis focus on improving the employment prospects of job seekers and inactive persons as well as providing support for labour mobility. Moreover, measures aimed at enhancing the sustainable integration of young people into the labour market are also supported. 
Priority Axis 2: Towards a more inclusive society
The aim of this priority is to enhance active inclusion by creating opportunities for all, including women and the inactive, as well as reduce health inequalities and address health needs with the aim of ensuring a healthy and productive workforce.
Priority Axis 3: Investing in people through Education, Training and Life Long Learning 
Interventions under this priority focus on reducing early school leaving (ESL) through the enhancement of the educational experience. Moreover, interventions also aim to increase participation rates in tertiary education levels by facilitating access and improve quality as well as increase participation in lifelong learning with the aim of adapting and upgrading the skills of the workforce.  Interventions aimed at strengthening vocational education and training systems with the aim of increasing participation in further and higher education whilst reducing labour market mismatches are also supported. 
Priority Axis 4: Building the Institutional Administrative Capacity
Under this priority axis, the measures supported focus on strengthening the role of the public administration, with a view to improve service delivery. Interventions focusing on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders delivering education (including lifelong learning and training), employment and social policies are also supported.
The full text of the Operational Programme may be downloaded here.

Public Consultation

As part of the partnership principle and multi-level governance, whereby economic and social partners, civil society including environmental partners, non-governmental organisations and bodies responsible for the promotion of equality and non-discrimination and the general public at large are to be actively involved in the preparation of the Operational Programmes; interested stakeholders are invited to put forward their views, suggestions and comments in reaction to these documents by Monday, 16 June 2014.
Written feedback may be submitted through the following channels:
-       by email on:
-       by post at:      EU2014-2020 Programming Unit
                               Ministry for European Affairs & Implementation of the Electoral Manifest
                               House of Catalunya
                               Triq Marsamxett
[1]It is to be noted that each Operational Programme also contains a component for technical assistance that will be used to assist national authorities in the implementation of the Operational Programme.
[2]These schemes will be complemented by interventions under the SME initiative (European Council Conclusions, October 2013) for which Government has pledged EUR15 million (EU share) from its ERDF resources in the form of uncapped guarantees. Such measures will be supported under another Operational Programme titled ‘Stimulate private sector investment for economic growth’



In terms of Legal Notice 497 of 2010 which transposes the European Directive 2001/42/EC, a Strategic Environmental Assessment shall be carried out for plans and programmes which “are prepared for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste management, telecommunications, tourism, town and country planning or land use and which set the framework for future development consent of projects listed in Annexes I and II to Directive 85/337/EEC”. Thus, Operational Programme I - Fostering a competitive and sustainable economy to meet our challenges, for the programming period 2014-2020 requires an SEA.
Thus, given that the preparations in relation to Operational Programme I financed through the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund (2014 – 2020) have reached an advanced stage, the general public and interested stakeholders are being invited to provide their feedback on the draft Environmental Report in connection with the SEA.
Within this context, all interested parties are encouraged to provide their feedback by submitting comments on The deadline for submitting feedback is Friday, 20th June 2014.


In terms of Article 10 of Legal Notice 497 of 2010, Environmental Protection Act (CAP 435), the EU Funds Programming Unit within the Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto notifies that as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Cohesion Policy Operational Programmes 2014-2020, the SEA Screening Template of Operational Programmes I and II has been drafted in order to assess whether these programmes necessitate the preparation of the Strategic Environment Assessment. The SEA Screening Templates can be found here.
With regard to Operational Programme I, the main conclusion stemming from the Contractor's assessment is that the Programme requires that a SEA is carried out since the proposed interventions could have an effect on the environment. On the other hand, with regard to Operational Programme II, since the programme mainly focuses on capacity building, training, policy design, human resources management, provision of services, studies, campaigns, outreach programmes, support services, promotion and advice and guidance activities, no significant environmental effects are envisaged. Therefore, Operational Programme II does not require a SEA.