European Structural Funds: A smart, sustainable and inclusive Scotland in Europe

An overview of the 2007-2013 programmes and an introduction to the 2014-2020 programmes with case studies from both the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund.


Shane Rankin, Head of European Structural Funds, Scottish Government

The European Structural Funds 2007-13 programmes supported more than 800 individual projects locally and nationally, boosting economic activity and increasing employment. The diversity and scope of projects varied considerably, from building windfarms and restoring remote mountain paths to transforming transport hubs in deprived urban communities and improving the employability of individuals across Scotland.

In recent years Scottish Government has publicised the funds through annual stakeholders events. These provided a platform to promote the excellent work of organisations and their staff in successfully delivering the projects.

This year we are publicising the funds through an ebook, embracing digital technology to promote the positive impact of this work in a way which is accessible across multiple digital platforms. Of all the Member States only Hungary has promoted the funds in a similar way.

The aims of the ebook are twofold - to convey the achievements of the 2007-13 programmes and to introduce the European Structural Funds 2014-20 programmes. Despite featuring a small number of the more than 800 funded projects, our publication is designed to give an insight into the lives of the people involved, and the positive change the funds have had on their lives. The case studies also demonstrate the progressive impact of European funding on small businesses and local communities, increasing job opportunities and social inclusion across Scotland.

The new Scottish programmes embrace the EU 2020 vision and its strong focus on achieving growth and jobs. The intention is that these programmes support the Scottish Government's wider aspiration to deliver sustainable economic growth for all in Scotland.

The Scottish approach to getting the greatest impact from the European Structural Funds is based on a number of principles.

The fundamental purpose of the funds is to secure structural reforms which facilitate sustainable growth and create a society which is more innovative and inclusive.

The funds will be deployed alongside many other public and private funds which will also have an influence on structural reforms. It is therefore important that the significant and positive impact of European Structural Funds continues as we invest in a Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive future. The Structural Funds will be deployed in niche areas where they can have the greatest impact in the wider funding and investment environment.

Successfully aligning and concentrating funds, and investing strategically, will be key to achieving the greatest impact and ensuring the interventions complement each other.

Parts of Scotland face significant territorial challenges and the funds must support interventions tailored to meet these challenges.

Structural Fund programmes are inevitably complex given that they deal with the deployment of substantial public funds. Simplifying implementation is one of our priorities and to achieve this we believe that programmes should be established around strategic interventions, or groups of projects, which can be match funded and are most likely to achieve ambitious outcomes. Simplification also depends on funding beneficiaries that have the capability and capacity to manage interventions in compliance with audit and implementation regulations.


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