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Rules for the application of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund (2007-2013)
This Regulation determines the application of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund. In particular it concerns the obligations of Member States with regard to information and implementing the funds.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006 of 8 December 2006 setting out rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and of Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund [See amending act(s)].
This Regulation lays down rules for the application of:
- Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 on the European Regional Development (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund;
- Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 on the ERDF.
This Regulation establishes all the rules for publishing and communicating information relating to projects funded by these Funds. In addition, it defines the rules aimed at ensuring the Funds are properly used, particularly with regard to the monitoring systems put in place by the Member States and the procedures for cases of irregularity.
Lastly, the Regulation establishes the provisions relating to certain specific aspects of the Funds, such as the financial engineering instruments and the eligibility expenditure on housing.
Information and publicity: the communication plan
In accordance with Regulation No 1083/2006, Member States shall establish operational programmes. These programmes define the development strategies based on funding from the structural Funds.
With transparency in mind, the operational programmes must be the subject of a communication plan. The communication plans are established by the Member States or the management authorities responsible for operational programmes. These plans are aimed at:
- beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries in order to widely disseminate information on the possibility of funding and the procedures to follow;
- the public, in order to improve the communication of the role played by the European Union (EU) in the financing of programmes which aim to improve economic competitiveness, job creation and internal cohesion.
Furthermore, the communication plans include:
- the aims and target groups;
- the strategy and content of the information and publicity measures to be taken by the Member State or the managing authority;
- the indicative budget for implementation of the plan;
- the administrative departments or bodies responsible for implementation of the communication plan;
- the means for evaluating the information and publicity measures.
Alongside the dissemination of information, this Regulation defines the responsibilities and roles of each of the stakeholders involved, specifically:
- the rules allowing the Member States to submit to the Commission information on the use of the Funds, as well as information on the allocation of the Funds throughout the life of a programme;
- the rules enabling the Commission to inform the other Institutions and the citizens of the European Union on the use of the Funds;
- the obligations which the managing authorities should have with regard to beneficiaries in the phase leading to the selection and approval of the operations to be funded;
- the obligations of the managing authorities with regard to the aspects which the verifications of the expenditure declared by the beneficiary should cover. This includes administrative verifications of the applications for reimbursement, and on-the-spot verifications of individual operations;
- the provisions relating to personal data and the exchange of data electronically.
To ensure exchanges of good practice and experience, European networks may be set up, comprising the contact persons responsible for information and publicity, as designated by each managing authority.
Management and control systems
The general provisions on the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund provide that Member States submit to the Commission a description of the management and control systems and a report setting out the results of an assessment of their introduction.
The Commission relies on these documents to satisfy itself that the financial assistance concerned is used by the Member States in accordance with the applicable rules necessary for protecting the EU's financial interests. This is why the present Regulation sets out in detail the information that such documents should contain.
Furthermore, this Regulation lays down specific rules concerning:
- intermediate bodies, managing authorities and certifying authorities;
- audits of operations;
- the description and assessment of management and control systems;
- the conditions to be observed when on-the-spot verifications are carried out on a sample basis;
- the information which should be included in the accounting records and audit trails.
Member States must report to the Commission any irregularities which have been the subject of a primary administrative or judicial finding. They then inform it of the procedures instituted with respect to all irregularities previously notified and of important changes resulting from them.
Each Member State is to report to the Commission and to the other Member States concerned any irregularities discovered or supposed to have occurred, where it is feared that they may very quickly have repercussions outside its territory or they show that a new malpractice has been employed.
Where a Member State does not maintain an agreed target level of public structural expenditure during the programming period, no financial correction should be applied if the difference between the agreed target level and the level achieved is equal to or less than 3 % of the agreed target level (de minimis threshold).
Financial engineering instruments
This Regulation lays down general and specific provisions applicable to all financial engineering instruments. Financial engineering instruments take the form of actions which make repayable investments in enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and in public-private partnerships. When the Structural Funds finance operations comprising financial engineering instruments, a business plan must be submitted by the cofinancing partners or shareholders.
Provisions implementing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006
The present Regulation lays down specific rules concerning the eligibility of expenditure on housing and the eligibility of operational programmes for the European territorial cooperation objective.
The ERDF and the ESF ("Structural Funds") and the Cohesion Fund cofinance projects implemented at regional and local level. The structural funds particularly aim at increasing economic competitiveness, improving employment and strengthening social and economic cohesion between the European regions.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006
OJ L 45, 15.2.2007
|Amending Act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 846/2009
OJ L 250, 23.9.2009
Regulation (EC) No 832/2010
OJ L 248, 22.9.2010
- For further information on communicating EU Regional Policy, please visit the Inforegio website