The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

SEM – Your gateway to EU services in Malta

Wednesday, 26 January 2022, 09:37 Last update: about 5 months ago

Kurt Cortis, Executive at Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta.

Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) is the government agency tasked with informing, engaging and supporting citizens and local organisations in staying updated and in reaping the benefits of EU membership.

With regards to EU Funding, SEM provides information, training and support to apply for and to implement EU funded projects. Several informative events are organised by SEM throughout the year, to provide information to eligible applicants on EU funding opportunities. Training sessions are also organised to improve the capacity of organisations to apply for EU funding.

In 2020, SEM assisted Victim Support Malta to successfully apply for EU funding for a project aimed at suicide prevention. Victim Support Malta is a local organisation providing support and assistance to victims of crime, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and hate crime. Whilst providing various therapeutic and emotional support programmes, they also undertake various projects aiming to strengthen their support as well as raise awareness on important issues.

The project seeks to raise awareness on increasing identification and prevention, combatting stigma, and encouraging vulnerable individuals to seek assistance. Moreover, this project aims to improve the organisation’s therapeutic service, by strengthening their staff’s capacity to provide such a service.

EU funding opportunities vary widely in relation to the eligibility of applicants and the priorities being tackled - from projects of an infrastructural nature to others dealing with social issues, projects implemented by groups of youths or projects led by public entities. The application process may seem daunting to those organisations or individuals not yet familiar with it. SEM provides technical support to applicants in developing the project idea to be in line with call specifications as well as assistance in filling in and submitting the application form and any required attachments.

SEM representatives meet directly with organisation representatives to discuss their regular activities, project ideas and the possible funding opportunities available to them. During the application process, full support is provided in understanding how to fill in the application form and compile attachments such as budget templates, declarations and any other documentation.

Aside from the support offered with the application process, SEM also provides assistance with the implementation of EU funded projects. After successfully receiving funding, Victim Support Malta asked for SEM support in the implementation of their EU funded project. Through SEM support, the organisation can continue to provide their regular services while relying on SEM expertise to guide them as they manage their project.

This project is currently being implemented and will be finalised in 2023. The project’s duration highlights the amount of work involved in bringing this project’s objectives to fruition. Throughout its lifetime, this project will primarily involve undertaking a national study seeking to determine the level of awareness on the issue, as well as to identify gaps leading to under-reporting. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding this global issue could lead to individuals in need not asking for the help they require. The planned awareness raising campaign will not only aim to encourage vulnerable individuals to seek help but will also be aiming to inform the general public of the issue and their potential role in identifying persons at risk and saving lives through awareness of the support services available.

During the implementation of EU funded projects there are certain requirements which need to be adhered to, such as specific procedures for payment claims and disbursement of the EU grant, promotion of the EU financial contribution to the project and ensuring that all services and goods procured for the project are obtained fairly and without discrimination. SEM guides organisations through such obligations arising from EU financial support to their project.

For more information on how SEM can assist your organisation to identify relevant EU funding opportunities and provide support at both application and project implementation stages, kindly contact SEM on [email protected] or 2200 3300.

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