All projects supported by the EU’s regional and structural policy programme must be implemented in accordance with and respectfully of the programme’s horizontal principles. Horizontal principles include fundamental rights and principles in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, gender equality, non-discrimination, equality in general and sustainable development, also taking into account the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the principle of ‘do no significant harm.’
Horizontal principles have two meanings in projects.
- The obligation to observe horizontal principles means that the objectives, results, outputs, measures and the definition of target groups of the project must not include actions or procedures that violate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights or the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Beneficiaries must also implement projects in full compliance with EU and national environmental legislation.
- In addition to the need for all projects to comply with and respect the horizontal principles, the main development content of the project may focus on the promotion of one or more horizontal principles or one of their aspects, in particular. Horizontal principles are included in the special selection criteria for all specific objectives of the EU’s regional and structural policy programme, which are used to score and prioritise project applications at the project selection stage.
To meet the horizontal selection criteria, the project must support
- gender equality,
- the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, including equality, non-discrimination and accessibility,
- the principles of sustainable development and the EU’s environmental policy, and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
The funding authority scores the horizontal selection criteria on a scale of 0 to 3.
The realisation of the principles is monitored during the implementation of the project. The beneficiary must report on the realisation of the horizontal principles in the final project report.
All the above-mentioned horizontal principles are described in more detail in their own sections.