Brussels, 19 October 2009
Have your say on EU financial rules
As part of its second revision of the financial rules for EU-funded programmes, the European Commission today launched a public consultation inviting beneficiaries and managers of public funds to send in their views on how to make the rules for grants and contracts more effective for everyone. The open consultation is an opportunity for all interested parties to share their practical experience so the Commission can, among other things, improve access to grants and simplify its own handling of financial files. This is especially important as the EU begins to prepare the ground for a new generation of programmes in 2014.
Launching the public consultation on the review of the EU’s financial rules at a press briefing in Brussels, Mr Algirdas Šemeta , EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget underlined how the Commission was eager to hear from everyone. He said to journalists “ Those who manage funds and apply these rules in their everyday work have a wealth of concrete experience and useful ideas that the Commission can use in its review”. He added “ I believe we can make financial rules more user-friendly and less burdensome, as well as protecting taxpayers’ interests”.
Preparing for tomorrow’s programmes today
The consultation is open to all interested parties. The results will provide feedback for the revision of the Financial Regulation and its Implementing Rules that the Commission will present in mid-2010. The contributions received over the coming months will be a vital contribution to shaping the management of EU funds well into the next decade. The revised rules need to be agreed by the time the new EU-funded programmes come into play when the current multi-annual financial framework closes in 2013.
Easier access to EU grants
Drawing on the Commission’s own experience, the consultation paper highlights key areas that concern fund beneficiaries. The first looks at improving the process of public calls for proposals in the award of grants. Experience here has shown that procedures are often too long and cumbersome. The consultation is an opportunity to express opinions and suggest concrete improvements. The paper also raises a series of questions such as: should the rules on co-financing requirements for the recipients of EU grants be more flexible? Would the introduction of performance-based grants (i.e. based on results rather than on reimbursement of costs) make life easier for everyone? Or what about loosening up the current non-profit rule, where EU grants at the moment cannot generate any top-up revenue for beneficiaries?
Better handling of contracts and grants
The second focus in the consultation is on how to simplify the Commission's own handling of financial files. The current rules are designed to minimise the risk of error and fraud, yet practical experience shows that they can often create additional red tape. This is why the Commission will be examining ways to adapt the rules so as to ensure effective project management, as well as maintaining a high level of protection for tax payers' interests.
Notes to editors:
1) The documents under review are the Financial Regulation and its Implementing Rules. The review of these documents takes place every three years. This is the second such exercise: the first review took place in 2006-2007.
2) A concise discussion paper on the scope of the current consultation is available on the consultation website available in three languages:
3) The review of the financial rules should not be confused with the ongoing reform of the EU budget, the scope of which is much larger and includes spending priorities, revenue for the EU budget, etc. The Commission will present its proposals on the budget reform before the end of 2009.