From an idea to reality: Info Days on EU Programmes

The last in the series of Info days, organized to present the possibilities of the EU programmes Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens and Horizon 2020, was held in the EU Info Centre in Sarajevo on 24 July. The Info Days have been previously organized in nine cities across the country in order to provide information about available EU programmes in BiH for hundreds of participants and potential applicants.

Each year, more applications are being submitted by Bosnian and Herzegovinian institutions and organizations, testifying to an increase in awareness of possible funding opportunities and capacities to successfully develop project ideas and obtain funds from those EU programmes that BiH participates in.

The Info Days, organized in cooperation with the Creative Europe Desk in Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided an opportunity for all interested representatives of institutions, civil society organizations and individuals working in culture, education and science to obtain first-hand experience and information on how to develop an application, how the evaluation is done, and what are the specifics that organizations need to pay attention to during implementation.

“Europe for Citizens has one of the simplest application processes with predefined deadlines. The deadlines for application are 1 March and 1 September each year so that you have enough time to plan”, said Goran Kučera, Focal Point for Europe for Citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina while presenting the programme aiming to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the EU, its history and diversity, as well as to foster European citizenship and improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at the EU level.

Aida Kalender, Head of the Creative Europe Desk in Sarajevo, presented the programme and upcoming calls for proposals. Lejla Hasanbegović and Emina Pašić, representatives of the “Shift Key” project by MESS festival, provided insight and first-hand experience into writing a successful application. By receiving a grant from the Creative Europe programme, MESS became the first public cultural institution from BiH to be the lead organization in a Creative Europe project. “It is important to make the shift from art discourse into an administrative one in order to write a successful application”, Kalender added, highlighting that good cooperation within the project team and understanding of the proposal is crucial to a successful application.

Key information about the open calls for proposals and evaluation of the Horizon 2020 programme was presented by Aiste Lehmann, Coordinator of the European Night of Researchers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was the first project from BiH awarded with a grant from this EU programme. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme enabling scientific breakthroughs and discoveries.

During the discussion that followed the presentations of the programmes, representatives of institutions, organizations and businesses that work in the area of culture, education and research showed great interest in the available programmes and gained valuable practical information on the procedures of looking for project partners, how to contextualize their ideas, and which programme is most relevant to their sphere of work.

European Union programmes support EU relevant policies and have the primary goal of improving cooperation between EU member states as well as candidate and potential candidate countries in different sectors such as culture, science, education, civil society, environment, entrepreneurship, health, judiciary, customs and many others. By signing the Framework Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on general principles of participation in 2007, BiH opened the possibility to participate in the programmes.  In the current cycle of EU programmes for the period 2014-2020, BiH expanded its participation in available programmes.