It's no longer a secret that the number of expressions of interest (EoIs) submitted for the first call of the South East Europe Programme has exceeded the most optimistic expectations. The figures speak for themselves: the total number of expressions of interest submitted until the deadline was 1099 (out of which 258 were duplications). The number of EoIs that are being evaluated is therefore 821. It looks like a long, hot summer is ahead of the JTS!...

 files The environment is no doubt the hottest issue on the agenda, since the second priority axis (Protection and Improvement of the Environment) has attracted the biggest number of applicants, with 271 expressions of interest submitted. It is followed closely by the first priority (Innovation) and the fourth priority (Sustainable Growth Areas), with 237, respectively 231 expressions of interest each.

A high interest was expressed in the following axes: 1.2 - Developing an enabling environment for innovative entrepreneurship (100 EoIs) and 4.3 - Promoting the use of cultural values for development (102 EoIs) as well as for 1.1.- Developing technology and innovation networks in specific fields (70 EoIs); 2.2 - Improving prevention of environmental risk (71 EoIs); 2.3 - Promoting cooperation in management of natural assets and protected areas (73 EoIs) and 4.1 - Tackling crucial problems affecting metropolitan areas and regional system of settlements (52 EoIs).

Overall, the number of proposed partners from the EU member states, which benefit from the ERDF funds, is 5414. This means an average of 676 partners per country! The biggest number of potential lead partners (291) come from Italy, followed closely by Greece, with no less than 234 lead partners. It's important to notice as well the high interest among the non-EU countries, with 1382 partners coming from the candidate and potential candidate countries, which benefit from the IPA funds. Serbia is the leader among these countries, counting for no less than 435 partners. In addition, there are a significant number of partners (128) from the countries benefiting from ENPI funds (Moldova and Ukraine). The figures show that all countries have been active and that the info days organised have been quite effective in stimulating the development of partnerships and proposals. More information about the info days is further available in the newsletter.

The high number of proposals received confirms the high interest for cooperation within the South East Europe countries. However, this huge interest and participation brings the need for high and precise organizational efforts. The JTS is now going through the eligibility phase. Taking into consideration the workload, we estimate that the entire assessment process will take about 12 weeks. The official results of the first step will probably be available in the second part of October, when the selected projects will be asked to submit a full application package, as part of the second step of the Call.

Until then, we wish everybody a nice summer!