• ESI Funds: Lombardy will decide on resources for 2021-2027 

At the annual event, an overview of the funds for the Covid-19 emergency: 362 million for healthcare, SME, CIG   


The objectives of the Lombardy Region for optimally utilizing the funds in the European programme 2021-2027, along with a report on capacity of using the European resources over the seven-year period coming to a close, also in response to the Covid-19 emergency: with concrete numbers, such as the 362 million euro designated for actions to combat the pandemic, including Research and Innovation, medical equipment, aid for SME and companies. 

These issues were taken up at the annual event on ESI funds: “Orizzonti di sviluppo: valori e innovazione per costruire il futuro” (Development horizons: values and innovation for building the future) held on 26 November 2020, this year live-streamed on this platform by the Job&ORIENTA Digital Edition meeting hosted by the Verona Trade Fair.

One fact stood out among all others: the central importance of R&I in the complex framework of the present, and even more so in the future. 

In his remarks opening the event, Vice President of Lombardy Region Fabrizio Sala explained: “This health emergency forces us to rethink development models, and Research and Innovation are fundamental tools for the growth of Lombardy and the entire country. Axis I of ERDF Regional Operational Programme designated for Research and Innovation has increased from 350 million euro to 540 million euro, demonstrating how much of a key lever they are for us in the recovery. With our “Call Hub” we have generated 250 million euro of investments, involving over 200 partners, and with the Covid Call, in record time, we have used 7 million of the ERD OP funds for research projects focused on this dreadful virus. Thanks go to Lombardy companies, to research centres and to Universities across our region for having given an immediate response with projects both innovative and unique around the world.” 

The figures in response to the Covid-19 emergency 

The importance of instruments provided by the ESI funds was strongly emphasized by the actions that these funds have permitted in response to new needs arising from the pandemic. Thanks to a reprogramming of resources within the framework of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, Lombardy Region has been able to implement 362 million euro, of which 193.5 million ERDF and 168.5 million ESF.

That is to say, initiatives that in the two Programmes had not yet produced significant costs were transferred to a complementary program, freeing up resources to be allocated to: health supplies and equipment purchased during the emergency phase; extraordinary services of healthcare personnel; Cassa Integrazione in Deroga (Exceptional Wages Guarantee Fund); and contributions for access to credit by SME’s.

Horizon Europe and strategic directions 2021-2027 

The analysis of how ESI funds are used to the present was followed by an explanation of the strategy of the Region for the European programming 2021-2027, details of which are currently under discussion at European institutions. In terms of R&I, for example, the transition from Horizon 2020 to the new programme for Horizon Europe 2021-2027 will involve several changes. 

For example, an interesting innovation is the establishment within Horizon Europe of the European Innovation Council (EIC), designed to support groundbreaking innovations that can create new markets, thanks to a mix of grants and equity. 

For its part, Lombardy Region during the period 2021-2027 will focus on making the socio-economic system of the region more attractive, competitive and resilient through a strong innovative push.

To achieve these goals, Lombardy Region has already drafted a Strategic Planning Document which identifies in an innovative way the priorities for action of the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027.

The process started out with an examination of the context based on an objective and predictive analysis by adopting an Artificial Intelligence methodology, i.e., the selection of a set of quantitative indicators to be examined, and within that set the identification of more or less successful indicators with respect to the European average and to that of the Regions of the Four Motors for Europe (in addition to Lombardy, Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) and the factors influencing a positive or negative trend. 

As such, it will be understood how to enhance the strengths and make up for insufficiencies; and consequently, determine what actions can produce innovation, also within the public administration. 


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