Russia-Ukrainian crisis: how the European Union is cooperating for the peace.

Politics - April 5, 2023

The relevance of The European Innovation Council and Smes Executive Agency (Eismea) in supporting ukrainian people and economy.

The European Union and its member states are increasingly committed to implementing a common and shared policy that is able to meet the challenges that arise.

Today the European context is plagued by several crises. In addition to the economic and financial crisis that has now plagued the entire world since 2008, three different crisis have followed and overlapped. Since 2015, the migration issue, which still has not found a decisive solution, has been exacerbated. In 2020 there was the Covid crisis, which folded the entire continent and the world, exacerbating existing inequalities and social problems. Finally, in 2022 with the onset of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Europe was also affected by the conflict and triggered a major energy crisis that seems to have no short end.

Therefore, in addition to the EU’s normal areas of intervention, efforts had to be made to adopt new and current measures that could address the challenges that have recently emerged.

Among the tools that the EU has introduced to respond more effectively and quickly to the problems of the European community there are the so-called Executive Agencies. The Agencies are established by the European Commission in 2003, in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 58/20031. They are responsable for the management of the comunitarian programmes and they are specifically focused on: management and control of project phases; adoption of acts of budget implementation, allocation of budgets and grants; collection, analysis and transmission of information to the Commission regarding the implementation of programs. In addition, the agencies have a predetermined duration and are located in the headquarters of the European Commission. Indeed, EISMEA works under the control of the Commission, by cooperating with it and reporting the performance and the actions set out.  

To make the agencies more suitable and actual they were renewed from 12 February 2021, with the European Commission approving a set of measures for the delegation of the comunitarian programmes to the agencies. They started their work form the first day of April in 2021, and they will continue unitl 2027. 

Among this type of agencies, there’s one that is particularly relevant. The one entitled EISMEA, which stands for European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency. EISMA was preceded by the then-known Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

EISMEA deals with European funding programs aimed at supporting innovation, frontier research and small and medium-sized enterprises. The mission is to provide high quality support to European innovators, researchers, businesses and consumers. The agency also intends to reinforce the European Union’s position as a global leader in Research and Innovation, strengthen its Single Market, open up opportunities for SMEs and maintain high standards of protection for its citizens towards a more competitive, digital, green and inclusive EU. The principles at the basis of this agency are connected to client orientation, excellence, innovation, integrity, respect and transparency.

The agency is responsible for the implementation of the following Union programmes: 

  • Horizon Europe, pillar III: the European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE); 
  • European Regional Development Fund: Interregional Innovation Investments; 
  • Single Market Programme: SME Pillar; Internal market; support to standardisation; and Consumers. 

Today, EISMEA is responsible for a total number of 2235 of projects, all of which are intended to be implemented in a more efficient way by the measures taken by the agency. 

It is also particularly important the fact that EISMEA strongly supports the Ukrainian people that are now experiencing a struggling time. Eismea has indeed recently celebrated one year of EISMEA concrete support to Ukraine. Since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the European Union has given all the support to the Ukrainian people. 

In this light, the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency has cooperated at international level to give a concrete and strong support to the companies, entrepeneurs and citizens that were in Ukrainian, jointly with the action of the European Commission for the “EU Solidarity with Ukraine”.  

The EISMEA is giving support by implementing the actions related to the the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the Single Market Programme (SMP).

Specifically, the measures of the European Innovation Council are related to the support in favor of the start-up in Ukraine and in general of all companies. For this reason, the aim is to offer a concrete support by providing financial support or support services (such as access to networks, access to markets and so on). 

Many Ukrainian organisation have already received fundings from the EIC during the last two years. It is also important to raise awareness about these opportunities; in order to this, the EIC promoted a joint workshop entitled “The European Unicor Factory: Funding Opportunities for Ukrainian Innovators”. Thanks to this workshop, organised both by the EU and the Ukrainian authorities, and thanks to the various campaign that were made, Ukrainian entrepenuers are now more aware about the opportunities that the European Union has created for themselves. 

Other initiatives have also been promoted by SME Pillar actions under the Single Market Programme managed by EISMEA. 

Indeed, the European Commission with the Enterprise Europe Newtork (EEN), the network that aims to support the smal and medium-sized enterprises, has provided different actions in support to Ukraine. The tool of EEN provided a specific support to Ukraine, with Ukrainian Europe Network Partners that are at the service of local companies and ready to provide European clients with all the help and advice they need to do business in Ukraine. 

It was also set a Task Force on Ukraine in order to help the businesses in facing supply chain disruptions and in order to support colleagues from the Ukrainian Partners.

The last measure that the European Union has decided to take in order to support the Ukarinian businesses there is the one called “European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP)”. This platform aims to encourage the connection, the communication and the collaboration between the cluster organisations in Europe. 

Also, in the very fisrt days of the conflict, the ECCP created a EU Clusters Support Ukraine Forum, which contributes to delivery humanitarian aid and to support the Ukrainian refugees that are in one of the Member States. 

Finally, the European Union also intends to favor the young people, by implementing the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) programme. This programme aims to give a support to Ukrainian intermediary organisations and entrepreneurs in this critical time. There were actions that were taken to match entrepreneurs in Ukraine with their host outside of the country. Also, the programme intends to relief the condition that ukrainian people are living, by allowing   the entrepreneurs that are already on business exchanges abroad to grant their extensions of their stays. 

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict seems not to end shortly and in fact it seems to exacerbating more and more, day by day. For this reason, other specific actions in support of Ukrainian SMEs and entrepreneurs will be launched shortly. They intend to achieve a more efficient implementation on the business side and they intend to give a more concrete and efficient support to the Ukraine and its entrepreneurial field, which “has become the centre of our continent. The place where our values are upheld, where our freedom is defended, where the future of Europe is written”, as declared by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.