Brussels, 22 July 2009
The European Commission proposes simplifying the management of the European Funds to assist regions in tackling the crisis
The European Commission today adopted new measures aimed at simplifying management rules for the Cohesion Policy. In the context of the current crisis, the aim is to boost the European economy by improving the conditions for launching more projects in the regions. As part of the measures to combat the crisis, the Commission may reimburse 100% of the costs declared by the Member States for projects financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) in 2009 and 2010.
The Member of the Commission responsible for Regional Policy, Pawel Samecki, stated that: 'These new measures are intended to lend a hand to the regions of Europe to help them to recover more quickly. We are facing up to the current situation while continuing in the long term to accelerate the implementation of our policy and facilitate the management of the Fu nds'.
The Member of the Commission responsible for Employment, Social affairs and Equal opportunities, Vladimír Š pidla, responsible for the European Social Fund (ESF), added that: ' Given the rapid increase in unemployment in Europe at a time when state budgets are under strain, the Member States must be in a position to make full use of the ESF. Total reimbursement under the ESF is therefore vitally important for supporting citizens in a time of crisis. These exceptional measures are an expression of European solidarity with those who are most vulnerable' .
The changes announced today are intended to facilitate the implementation of the 455 Cohesion Policy programmes planned for 2007-2013, representing a total investment of €347 billion, or more than a third of the Community budget. The aim is to accelerate investment flows directed particularly towards project promoters and those citizens most affected by the crisis in the regions of Europe.
Account also needs to be taken of the impact of the crisis on the public finances of Member States and regions encountering difficulties in providing additional financing for European investments. In particular, the Commission is witnessing a slow start-up of major infrastructure projects.
The changes introduced clarify certain rules and simplify the day-to-day management of the European Funds. The principal measures are:
A large number of other initiatives have been taken since the beginning of the crisis under the European Economic Recovery Plan:
The EU is tackling the social dimension of the economic crisis: