“The calling of nominations for these European Sails awards, which have already become a tradition, provides an opportunity each year for the community to take an interest in projects that not only make progressive changes in the local environment, but also at the national level, and which create innovation and employment opportunities, which improve accessibility to services and stimulate international partnership”, said Loreta Maskaliovienė, Vice-Minister of the Finance Ministry, which is the organiser of the competition.
This year there will be seven categories for the European Sails 2018 nominations. Nominations in the Human investments category are intended for projects creating social initiatives that reduce social differences and promote the integration of vulnerable groups in society. Nominations in the Export promotion category are intended for projects that use EU investment funds grants effectively for targeted expansion into foreign markets. Nominations in the Growth potential category are intended for projects that help improve employees’ skills and qualifications, and which encourage people encountering difficulties to get into the labour market. Nominations in the Most innovative solutions category are intended for projects that have stimulated the use of the latest smart technologies in the work of companies or organisations.
Nominations in the Creation of a contemporary environment category are intended for projects that used the ES grants to invest in beautification of public spaces, updating of infrastructure and modification of the environment to suit the needs of local residents. Nominations in the Most interesting small business project category can be awarded for small business projects that have discovered interesting non-traditional solutions in the small business field, and have used the EU investment funds for the creation of innovative products or services.
There is something new in this year’s competition. There will be nominations in the Strengthening the Baltic Region category, intended for projects that strengthen cooperation between countries in the Baltic Sea region, and which enable these countries, working together, to overcome problems that have already arisen and will arise in the future, and to ensure sustainable growth of neighbouring countries in the Baltic Sea region. Project managers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia can offer their projects for nomination.
The European Sails competition consists of three phases. The best projects, the ones that deserve the European Sails awards, will be chosen by the vote of a committee appointed for this purpose and by the public. Project managers are invited to register projects for one of the seven categories of nominations by 5 March 2018. The Committee will choose the nominated candidates, and these will be presented to the public: in April all members of the public will be able to vote by Internet for the project of their choice in order to select the winners of the European Sails competition. At a formal presentation ceremony in Klaipėda on 24 May 2018, the organisers of the winning projects will be presented with European Sail statuettes symbolising stability and strength.
Currently there are about 10,000 projects under way financed by EU funds grants. The European Sails program seeks to encourage residents to take an interest in the environment of their town, village or place of residence, the efforts of local industry, social initiatives and other positive developments; while the project managers are encouraged to submit the project they are working on as a candidate for an award in the appropriate category.
Managers currently in charge of projects in the various cities and regions of Lithuania are encouraged to register. The Kupiškis District Municipality, which won a European Sails award in 2017 in the Creation of a contemporary environment category, can now see the real value of EU grants. After receiving such a grant, the Council arranged reorganisation of the manufacturing precinct, which attracted investors such as UAB Domimaks, a firm which has created more than 150 local jobs. “We are a small provincial town in the East of Lithuania, and to be noticed and appreciated is great honour for us. This award belongs to all the people of Kupiškis who contributed to the preparation and carrying out of this project”, says Mayor Dainius Bardauskas, who accepted the award last year on behalf of the Kupiškis District Municipality.
For more information about the European Sails 2018 competition, registration and the EU funds investment program in Lithuania for 2014–2020, see the website http://www.esinvesticijos.lt/lt/.