The Commission adopted its Partnership Agreement with Czechia, laying down the country's cohesion policy investment strategy worth €21.4 billion for the period 2021-2027.
Cohesion policy funds will continue to support the Czech regions in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion and embracing key EU priorities such as the green and digital transition, including clean transport. The funds will also contribute to the country's competitive, innovative and sustainable growth and employment as well to the improvement of skills and social inclusion.
A greener and more digitally equipped Czechia
The European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) in Czechia will dedicate €3.4 billion to digitalise its economy, support research and innovation and increase growth and competitiveness of small and medium businesses (SMEs), as well as to support entrepreneurship, industrial transition and smart specialisation.
Investments worth €6.5 billion will increase the share of renewable energy sources, reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in public buildings and replace fossil fuel sources of energy with renewables, in support of REPowerEU objectives. Moreover, Czechia will improve its response to climate change (e.g. floods, droughts) thanks to the dedicated programme ‘Environment' which will finance nature-based actions and restoration of natural ecosystems and sustainable water management. The country will also accelerate its transition to a circular economy in line with the New Circular Economy Action Plan.
The Just Transition Fund (JTF) will provide €1.5 billion for the restructuring of businesses in their transition to a low-carbon economy, preserving jobs, and for the diversification of the economy in the Czech regions most affected by the transition to a climate neutral economy. Businesses will also develop new renewable energy sources, so as to bolster the circular economy. The funds will also support improving the quality of formal and non-formal education and the skilling and re-skilling of workers to build up a labour force that is ready to take up the new jobs that will be created by the economic transformation.
More energy efficient transport
Thanks to €4.1 billion from the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund, Czechia will develop clean urban and suburban public transport and charging infrastructure for clean vehicles. The future investments will contribute to increasing the quality, performance and attractiveness of rail as the backbone of sustainable transport. Finally, Czechia will use the EU funds to invest in sustainable, safe, climate-resilient, smart and interconnected national (non-TEN-T) and regional road infrastructure.
Support for employment, skills and social inclusion
The European Social Fund Plus (ESF) and the ERDF Czechia will provide €4.4 billion to:
- improve access to employment, especially for those who face difficulties;
- promote a gender balanced labour market;
- increase the level of skills of the labour force to successfully master the digital transition;
- ensure equal access to quality and inclusive education and training;
- improve the integration of third-country nationals;
- improve the living standards of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion;
- increase the availability of social services and access to healthcare services in underserved areas and for the most disadvantaged groups of the population.
Members of the College said:
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “The Partnership Agreement is a milestone for the future development of Czechia. Cohesion policy investments will foster the green and digital transition, contribute to energy security and promote economic, social and territorial cohesion across all regions. I look forward to the swift completion of the programmes so that funds can start flowing soon.”
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, underlined: “Thanks to this Partnership Agreement, Czechia will strengthen its labour market by increasing access to adequate training, by promoting gender balance and by improving the living conditions of those at risk of poverty or social exclusion. These are key elements for building thriving and inclusive societies and economies.”
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, added: “This Partnership Agreement will allow Czechia to build an innovative economy, putting upfront the environment and climate friendly solutions and promoting transition to more sustainable and circular business practices. This partnership agreement will also contribute to developing in Czechia a resilient, sustainable, innovative and low-carbon aquaculture sector, in line with the EU Strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period 2021 to 2030, as well as to boost the digital transition of the aquaculture sector.”
The Partnership Agreement with Czechia paves the way for the investments from the cohesion policy funds on the ground: the ERDF; the ESF+; the Cohesion Fund; the JTF; and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund - EMFAF.
It covers 20 programmes: 8 national, 1 regional and 11 INTERREG programmes (involving cross-border cooperation). Moreover, it establishes the eligibility and implementation of the Just Transition Fund in the regions with carbon-intensive industrial facilities most negatively impacted by the climate transition.
Finally, the Partnership Agreement reflects Czechia's strong commitment to the coordinated use of the cohesion policy funds with the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
Each Member State prepares a Partnership Agreement in cooperation with the Commission. This is a strategic document for programming investments from the cohesion policy funds and the EMFAF during the Multiannual Financial Framework. It focuses on EU priorities, laying down the strategy and investment priorities identified by the Member State. It also presents a list of national and regional programmes for implementation on the ground, including the indicative annual financial allocation for each programme. Czechia's Partnership Agreement is the sixth one adopted for the 2021-2027 funding period, following those of Greece, Germany, Lithuania, Austria and Finland.