News archive - CIP informs national authorities in third countries about participation possibilities

Openness of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme
The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises, with SMEs being the main target. A new portal has just been launched and also informs about the possibilities of third country participation.

The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP, for more information on the programme see /link/2029.html) is in principle open to:

  1. EFTA countries which are members of the EEA, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the EEA Agreement;
  2. candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of these countries in Community programmes established by the respective Framework Agreement and Association Council Decisions;
  3. countries of the Western Balkans, in accordance with the provisions to be determined with those countries following the establishment of framework agreements concerning their participation in Community programmes;
  4. other third countries, when agreements so allow.

A specific website in the CIP portal provides information for national authorities and explains that, it is for each country to judge whether it might benefit from participation in the CIP or in one of its three specific programmes, with the benefits outweighting the costs in terms of financial contributions to the relevant budgets). This analysis should take into account:

  • the needs and priorities of the country;
  • the capacity of administrative and financial infrastructures and institutions to effectively use the CIP instruments and deliver the benefits;
  • the level of development of the potential beneficiaries;
  • that the instruments of CIP are designed to support excellence and are based on competitive tenders or market principles;
  • that CIP does not provide technical assistance or support cohesion objectives;
  • that no principle of ‘juste retour’ (benefits in proportion to relative contributions) is applied.

Applying to participate in the CIP
Participation of third countries may be open for one, two or all three specific programmes of the CIP. Countries that wish to participate in the CIP should express their interest by way of a letter from the relevant Minister to the relevant Member of the European Commission (more details on the CIP website).
The financial contribution (“entry ticket”) for participation is based on a multiplier which is applied to the annual budget for the relevant specific programme. For the EIP and ICT specific programmes, this multiplier is calculated according to the ratio of the GDP of the country concerned in relation to the GDP of EU Member States. Details about the calculation of costs are provided on the CIP Website. IPA is stated as one possible source for co-funding.

What are the necessary steps?
After a country expresses interest, the relevant Commission services submit calculations for the “entry ticket” to the diplomatic mission of the country concerned. The country then indicates agreement and confirms interest. The Commission services draw up a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to regulate the country’s participation. Once this MoU has been signed by both parties and has entered into force (this requires parliamentary ratification in certain countries), the country may participate in activities of the programme.

The current planning is for Croatia and FYR of Macedonia to join this autumn and possibly the other Western Balkan countries (except UNMIK/Kosovo) to join in 2008.
Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway are already associated countries for the CIP. The process was formalised in June 2007.

Other possibilities available for working for the CIP
It is possible for organisations providing business and innovation support services in third countries to co-operate with the network of such service providers established under the CIP. This is possible even where the country concerned is not participating in the CIP, but in this case no financial support would be available from the CIP budget.

Article published in eLurnal summer 2007.

CIP website)
Details about the calculation of costs: CIP Website on third country participation, IPA is stated as one possible source for co-funding.

Geographical focus
  • Europe

Entry created by Elke Dall on July 20, 2007
Modified on July 20, 2007