Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Area: 357,578 km2
GDP per capita: €45,000
Currency: Euro (€)
For the 2014-2020 financial framework of European Structural and Investments Funds, Germany was allocated a total of €27.9 billion, which, added to a national contribution of €16.8 billion, see Germany reaching a total budget of €44.7 billion to be invested in various areas.
In fact, this budget is intended to be used through 48 national and regional programmes to:
- Improve the competitiveness and innovation of SMEs, including in the agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries sectors;
- Help to improve the innovative capacity and competitiveness of the economy and strengthen the links between research, innovation and industrial policy;
- Help people to reskill and upskill and to enter the labour market, more specifically long-term unemployed people, members of disadvantaged groups, and migrants;
- Equip young people with competences to enter further training or work, and reduce early school leaving;
- Address energy and climate change objectives, and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Make fisheries and aquaculture more sustainable and improving marine ecosystems and aquatic biodiversity;
- Support restoration, conservation and the strengthening of biodiversity, and agricultural and forestry systems with a high conservation value;
- Improve food protection measures.
Germany’s main theme of investment for the 2014-2020 financial framework is the promotion of social inclusion and related measures, like the creation of jobs for disadvantaged groups, through around €8 billion coming from three different funds: the European Research and Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Special attention is paid by Germany to improve the research and innovation sector: in fact, the ERDF with a budget of over €6 billion that is helping the German government support its researchers, firms and research institutions in developing new breakthrough projects.
In a similar fashion, Germany is investing more than €6 billion to improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, including in the agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, in order to better place them in the global market. As shown by Chart 1 the investments in this field are carried out thanks to the ERDF, the EAFRD and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Chart 2 helps us fully understand the EU funding budget of the German government, thanks to an overview of the total available budget divided into the shares that each European Fund has in the total budget of €44.7billion.
With 39.8% of the total budget, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the largest contributor to European funding in Germany, granting more than €17 billion alone, distributed in all the important themes of investments of the German agenda. The second largest contributor is the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), that accounts for 31.6% and a total €14 billion being invested in environmental and social issues. The European Social Fund (ESF) has a total share of 28% and is investing €12,5 billion in creating new jobs, upskilling workers and promoting social inclusion between different social groups. With only 0.6% the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is granting Germany under €300 million to be used in increasing the competitiveness of SMEs in the aquaculture business.
The country’s absorption rates are substantially higher compared to the European Union average. With a 34% share of spent funding from the ESIF, Germany has one of the highest percentages in the European Union, being 6% above the European average of 28% and meaning that more than €15 billion have already been invested. Germany is also very effective when it comes to assigning funds: in fact, the country has allocated 72% of its total budget, 7% above the EU average of 65%, meaning that €32 billion have been assigned to projects and other initiatives.
Germany ranks high when it comes to absorption rates comparisons with other Member States, and is also the top performing economic superpower among its EU partners such as France, the United Kingdom and Italy.