The JOP programme was financed under the European Commission's Phare-Tacis Programmes. It was discontinued in 1999. The primary aim of JOP was to facilitate productive community investment in the countries of central and eastern Europe (CEEC), the New Independent States (NIS) and Mongolia especially through the creation and the development of joint ventures. JOP also aimed at encouraging the development of a competitive private sector in those countries. JOP was essentially aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises from the European Union intending to invest in the CEEC or NIS countries and Mongolia.
JOP operated along similar principles as other Community programmes such as
Joint European Ventures
European Community Investment Partners
JOP offered different types of supports which take into account the different stages of creation and development of an enterprise:
- Preliminary information research (EuroJOP Data)
- Assistance for organising events and seminars (JOP Facility 1)
- Preliminary contacts and feasibility studies (JOP Facility 2)
- Direct financing or guarantees (JOP Facility 3)
- Training and technology transfer (JOP Facility 4)
Innovative SMEs willing to benefit from the JOP Programme had to contact directly the financial intermediaries which were selected by the European Commission services or they can first seek guidance on innovation financing sources and how to prepare for them from the
List of Financial Intermediaries having participated in the JOP Programme
JOP addressed projects of creation or expansion of a joint venture. Any company with two or more partners was considered a joint venture provided it satisfied the following criteria:
- The joint venture must be considered as such under the legislation of the CEEC or NIS country concerned;
- At least one partner must be from a European Union country;
- At least one partner must be based in one of the countries of the CEEC, NIS or in Mongolia;
- At least 75% of the share capital must be held, directly or indirectly, by the partners of the European Union and CEEC or NIScountries or Mongolia.
Under certain conditions, a project of direct investment by a company of the European Union in the CEEC or NIS countries or Mongolia can be eligible.
Any business, which intended to invest via the creation or the development of a joint venture or, under certain conditions, a subsidiary. This applied to businesses in all productive sectors, including the service sector, provided that they were making an investment not essentially aimed at the mere distribution of products manufactured by the EU partner. The projects in the financial services and real estate sector were excluded, as well as those related to activities deemed harmful to public health or otherwise susceptible to conflict with EC rules. In addition to SME projects, which were given priority, those community companies (including subsidiaries) which had:
- A maximum of 1.000 employees;
- Net fixed assets of a maximum of Euro 150 million;
- Not more than one-quarter of their share capital held, directly or indirectly, by a large company,for the projects in the CEEC;
- Not more than one-third, for the projects in the NIS or Mongolia, are eligible.
EuroJOP Data was an information service for European Union companies intending to establish a joint venture and to make direct investment in the CEEC or NIS. EuroJOP Data operated along similar principles as other European Commission information services such as Eurotech Data and
Eurotech Data for I-TEC PARTNER
(LIFT). The aim of this one-stop-shop was to collect information obtained from worldwide sources and disseminate it to companies in the form of a "Flash Dossier" for each partner country. This Flash Dossier was sent to the company within five working days and covered, for each partner country the following topics:
- General overview
- Macro-economic environment
- Foreign trade (statistics and legislation)
- Foreign investment (statistics and legislation)
- Business environment (infrastructure, setting up a firm, labour, taxation)
- Trade fairs and exhibitions
- Additional sources of information
- Additional sources of financing
Flash Dossier were available for the following countries : Albania, Latvia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Hungary, Russian Federation.
JOP Facility 1 was designed to provide assistance for organising events or seminars promoting the Joint Venture Programme and the creation of joint ventures or eligible direct investments by European Union companies in the CEEC, NIS countries or Mongolia. The projects in the countries made eligible for the Joint Venture Programme-Phare (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) were given priority.
The Community contribution consisted of a grant covering 50% of the eligible costs with a ceiling of euro 100.000. The following costs were eligible:
- Travel and accomodation expenses of external speakers
- External speakers' fees
- Travel and daily allowance of the organisers
- External consultancy costs
- Renting premises
JOP Facility 2 financed part of the costs incurred during the preliminary phase of creation or development of a joint venture. This phase included: the Pre-feasibility study: the assembling of preparatory data for structuring the Feasibility study and the search for potential partners; the Feasibility study: market analysis, business plans and preparation of contractual documents. Facility 2 could also apply, under certain conditions, to direct investment projects.
The Community contribution consisted of:
- A grant of up to euro 20.000 and representing 50% of the eligible costs incurred during the pre-feasibility study.
- An interest-free financing not exceeding euro 75.000 and representing up to 50% of the eligible costs incurred during the feasibility study.
- Under certain conditions, this financing could be transformed into a grant, if the joint venture was actually established within a period of 12 month since the end of the feasibility study.
- An additional grant not exceeding euro 75.000, if the joint venture was established.
Eligible costs included:
- Transportation expenses
- Accomodation and subsistence expenses
- External experts' and consultants' fees
- Internal experts' and internal consultants' fees
- Translation expenses
Under JOP Facility 3, the European Commission bore part of the risk of the project by participating in the financing, on condition that the Financial Intermediary participated in the equity or medium and long-term financing. This financing facility was available only for projects in NIS and Mongolia, subject to budget availability.
The Community contribution was granted in the form of equity or quasi-equity, or in the form of a guarantee covering half of the co-financing amount of the Financial Intermediary. The amount of the Community contribution must not exceed:
- euro 2 million;
- the amount of the medium and long-term financing awarded (directly or indirectly) by the Financial Intermediary;
- The amount of the direct participation of the Community partner;
- 20% of the total amount of the medium and long-term resources made available to the project.
If the financing awarded by the Financial Intermediary was made in the form of equity, quasi-equity or a guarantee, the Community contribution, in principle, made on an identical basis. If the financing awarded by the Financial Intermediary was a medium or long term loan, the Community contribution made under one of the following forms:
- Equity or quasi-equity for an amount not exceeding one third, half or two thirds of the financing of the financial institution,
- Depending on the type of sEurority attached to the loan;
- Granting a guarantee of up to 50% of the financing of the Financial Intermediary.
JOP Facility 4 was designed to strengthen eligible projects by co-financing training activities, technical assistance and transfer of know-how. To be eligible, projects in the CEEC must be joint-ventures. Moreover the project in which the local partners had a substantial participation (at least 25% of the joint venture's capital) was given priority.
The Community contribution consisted of a subsidy covering up to 50% of eligible costs, with a ceiling of euro 200.000 for projects in the CEEC and euro 250.000 for those in the NIS and Mongolia. The following costs were eligible:
- Transportation expenses for travelling abroad;
- Accomodation and subsistence expenses incurred abroad;
- External experts' and consultants' fees;
- Internal experts' fees, up to 50% of the community contribution;
- Tuition fees paid to attend training courses locally or in a European Union country;
- Translation expenses.