Over the past 16 years Gibraltar has received almost €60million in EU funding, the Gibraltar Government said as it highlighted the role played by Europe in the local economy.
The Government’s records also show that 3615 jobs have been created or safeguarded as a result of the EU funding projects, a figure estimated to increase further to 5004. There have also been over 5000 qualifications gained as a result of these funds
The insight into EU Funding comes on the day Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Jospeh Garcia depart to European Parliament and Commission in Brussels.
The funding has benefitted 75 public sector projects and 202 private sector projects locally.
The European Regional Development Fund [ERDF], the European Social Fund [ESF] and Interreg have allocated the funds to Gibraltar. It is estimated by 2020 Gibraltar will have received over €32million under the ERDF, nearly €18million under the ESF and about €9million under Interreg.
“This is an advantage for local businesses and also for employees who are able to gain employment in the enterprises that are established thanks to these funds,” Mr Picardo said.
“There has also been considerable benefit to Gibraltar as a whole given that public sector Government projects have in many cases been part-financed by the European Union. This funding stream should not be put at risk.”
Last year Dr Garcia met with the European Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu in Brussels and thanked her for her support for EU funding programmes in Gibraltar.
“These funding programmes have been very successful in the establishment of small business and in generating employment and economic growth. The European Union has worked well for Gibraltar in this regard.”
EU funds have historically assisted the economy of Gibraltar as it made the transition from an economy which was 60% based on defence spending to an open private sector economy which competed with the outside world.
A number of former military facilities in the old naval dockyard, for example, were converted into the Europa Business Centre with the assistance of the European Union and another industrial park was built at Lathbury Barracks.
The Casemates area, which included historic military accommodation and facilities, was modernised and became shops and restaurants.
Other public sector projects that have benefited from EU funding include the Alameda Gardens, Commonwealth Park, Tourist sites and the City Hall refurbishment.
There is a long list of private sector projects that have done very well from EU funding. This includes businesses involved in freight forwarding, light industrial activity, eco-tourism, broadband services, medical and health services, entertainment and fitness.