European Union Funds in the development of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) in Europe
The aim of this paper is to analyse the financial determinants of the development of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs) operating in Europe. This work focuses on European funds, with particular consideration of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) funds. Literature research on the evolution of cohesion policy has been conducted. A new instrument has been described, i.e. the EGTC, based on analysis of legal documents.
This paper also seeks to assess the effectiveness of this instrument. For this purpose, the size and structure of 65 EGTC budgets for two programming periods (2007–2013 and 2014–2020) have been analysed. The size of the budgets was compared with the scope of EGTC operations. Numerous barriers related to the acquisition and management of EU funds have been identified. It has been found that the groupings which operate in Central and Eastern Europe, in particular those located on the Hungarian border, were in the most difficult situation.
Despite the financial support from the Hungarian government, in most cases these groupings did not manage to complete the projects financed by ETC funds. 65 EGTCs obtained slightly more than 0.1% of ETC funds. The budget of a statistical EGTC was EUR 1 million; however, most of these groupings had a budget which was smaller than EUR 100,000. The implementation of statutory tasks was challenging with such small budgets. With few exceptions, the instrument turned out to be moderately effective. As regards the role which this instrument is to play in cohesion policy, it should be further improved.