On 9 December 2020, a Baltic regional workshop on programming of EU funds with a focus on climate, energy and environmental issues took place. In the virtual workshop the participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania exchanged on how to better participate in the multiannual financial framework (MFF) process and EU funds programming in their respective countries. The workshop was divided into two major parts: the first part designed to give an overview of relevant EU funds in the topic of climate and energy as well as theoretical ways for NGOs to get involved in the funds’ allocation process. The second part of the workshop was designed to give participants practical skills on how to ace public consultations of Operational Programmes allocating EU funds by showcasing how and where to formulate country- and organization-specific demands and criticism.
In the group discussions among participants, lack of transparency of the EU funds allocation process was raised as a key concern across the three countries. Among common priorities identified in the Operation Programmes in the EU funds allocation process in the Baltics, representatives from all three countries stressed that measures supporting innovation should have clearer sustainability and climate neutrality criteria.
Both NGO representatives and the representative from the European Commission DG Regio official urged national NGOs to take a more assertive role in advocacy during the EU funds programming process and when giving feedback, propose concrete alternative actions and measures instead of sticking to criticising the overall direction of the measures.
Thanks to the workshop, members of various Baltic NGOs working on energy and climate issues have a better idea of how to make their voice heard in the EU funds allocation process and how to most efficiently participate in public consultation processes.