Fabian Demicoli

Facilitating access to the Culture Programme

 The Culture Programme is often the subject of a series of more or less founded misunderstandings. It often happens that potential applicants do not apply for funds from this programme and do not even give it a try. Why does this happen, when a lot of work that could be eligible for funding is already being done?

 

One plausible assumption could be this: participation in an EU funding scheme is perceived as something beyond the organisation's capabilities, as an overwhelming bureaucratic and administrative burden. In brief, EU-funded projects are seen as something the be left for stronger operators from bigger European countries, especially in the field of culture. It is our intention to show how this misconception is often ill-founded. Obviously, we do not mean that the Culture Programme is a walk in the park: the activities proposed in a project must meet high quality criteria, since amateurism is not an asset here. However, the scenario is less pessimistic than the one usually portrayed. First of all, it is important to distinguish between two different ways for applying for the Culture Programme.

An organisation can act in the project either as a project leader or as a coorganiser. Naturally, the project leader would be the one with most responsibilities and involvement. On the one hand, it is the leader's responsibility to propose and shape the project idea for which (s)he will look for interested partners; (s)he has the overall control on the project and its content. On the other hand, it is the project leader's duty to work on the application and to take care of all the administrative and bureaucratic work.

A project co-organiser joins already-established project consortia that may prove interesting and relevant. (S)he does not have the overall control of the project idea, but at the same time the required administrative commitment is not demanding at all (s)he only has to provide a few documents showing the status of his/her organisation and to sign a mandate in which the legal and financial responsibility is delegated to the project leader.

The Culture Programme is a 50% co-financing scheme in which half of the budget has to be secured by the applicants from their own resources or through sponsorships or other sources. At times this is perceived as an insurmountable obstacle in itself.

Cooperation makes all the difference in this aspect. A Culture project must involve organisations from at least three European countries,. Together they must fork out 50% of the project budget. Usually the project leader, having the overall control over the project, will contribute a more substantial percentage (let's say 20% out of 50%). In so doing, the other partners (at least two, but they could be even more) will have to share only the remaining 30%. Thus, by forking out 15, a co-organiser will participate in a project that is worth 100.

Cooperation on the national level could prove very useful as well. If, for instance, a number of local councils come together in the preparation of a project and apply together, they will not only join their resources and their structures, but will also shoulder the co-financing percentage among themselves, reducing the financial load significantly.

The Cultural Contact Point is there to make the application procedure smoother for potential beneficiaries and to maximise operators' access to funds.

Indeed, it is their duty to follow applicants step-by-step throughout the whole process, assisting them all the way from the partner search to the enhancement of the European dimension of their proposal.

For more information contact the Cultural Contact Point: Cultural Contact Point, Culture and Audiovisual Unit, Auberge D'Italie, Merchants Street, VLT1170 Valletta, Email: , T: 2291 5081 ; 2291 5049

Source: Funding 4 yEU (MEUSAC)

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