There is more EU money and less bureaucracy to access it in the Mar 2020 program

More money and less bureaucracy, so that "more and better projects" linked to the Blue Economy, aka, the Sea, emerge. These […]

Economy-of-the-SeaMore money and less bureaucracy, so that "more and better projects" linked to the Blue Economy, aka the Sea, will emerge. These will be some of the pillars of the community program Mar 2020, which succeeds Promar, whose main lines were presented this Wednesday , at the University of Algarve.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Sea chose the Algarve academy to start the «Roteiro do Mar», an internal version of the tour that Minister Assunção Cristas carried out in several countries in 2014. Here, the National Sea Strategy was recalled and advanced main lines of the proposed financing program for activities related to the sea, which is already being evaluated by Brussels.

For now, there is still no concrete idea as to what will be eligible under the community support framework that began in 2014 and runs until 2020. The European Commission has the last word and should only announce a decision from June onwards, that is, in the second half of 2015.

Even so, there is a guarantee of novelties in Mar 2020. One of the main ones is the creation of the Balcão Único, aimed at investors, which aims to simplify processes and speed up procedures. One of the main problems that has been identified by the business sector (also focused during the session, in the space dedicated to the debate) is the difficulty in investing in the Sea, in Portugal, given the dispersion of competences among numerous entities.

An issue that the Government guarantees will be taken care of, in Mar 2020, with plans, among other measures, to reduce the number of entities that have to give binding technical advice. Furthermore, with the Balcão Único, which should be put online as soon as the Portuguese program is approved by Brussels, entrepreneurs will only have to deal with one interlocutor.

Also new are the figures of the young aquaculturist and fisherman, who appear in line with that of the young farmer, which already existed in the package of community incentives for Agriculture. And the possibility of applying for losses due to biological accidents to community funds is open, although it is still too early to say what the European Commission will accept to support.

Rodrigo Brum and Manuel Pinto de AbreuAs for the funds themselves, in this new period of funding, more money will reach Portugal, via the now FEAMP - European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (replaces the EFF - European Fisheries Fund). And there is the possibility of accumulating funding obtained in this way with that coming from other programmes, namely the ERDF structural funds and the European Social Fund.

In numbers, the FEAMP has a budget of 392 million euros, while the FEP (2007/13) had 246 million euros. That is, there are about 150 million more to be distributed over the next few years.

While “new” money does not arrive, it is necessary to spend the QREN 2007/13. And both the responsible for the Mar 2020 strategy Rodrigo Brum and the Secretary of State for Fisheries Manuel Pinto de Abreu were clear about Promar: those who applied for funds and have not yet implemented the projects must do so quickly, or give up, to allow all the money allocated to this program (which has to be spent by the end of the year) to be used.