European Commission - Press release
Easier access to EU funds: Commission shows member states the way
Brussels, 8 February 2012 – Since the presentation of its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) last June, the Commission has proposed over 120 changes to simplify the rules governing EU funding for Small and Medium Enterprises, towns and regions, students, scientists and others. Today's communication "A simplification agenda for the 2014-2020 MFF" brings them altogether in one single document. The key question now is whether the European Parliament and the Member States are ready to make the life of EU funds' beneficiaries easier by reducing the administrative burden on them.
"Each of the thematic proposals for the next MFF included a simplification" element, says EU Commissioner for financing programming and budget Janusz Lewandowski. "EU funds can play a key role as we strive towards sustainable economic growth by providing extra funds to our business, regional authorities and researchers. We wanted to make the access procedure to those funds less like a maze and more user-friendly."
However, EU rules are often completed by additional rules at national level. Therefore, efforts at EU level cannot succeed if they are not followed up by similar efforts at national, regional and local levels. That is why the Commission hopes that the legislators in the European Parliament, the Council as well as in Member States will see simplification as crucial.
Today the Commission declares its commitment to defend this simplification agenda and its resolve to ring the alarm bell should the need arise.
Examples of simplification of access to funding
The Commission published its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 on 29 June 2011. By 31 December 2011, the Commission tabled a comprehensive set of 57 sector specific legislative proposals underlying the MFF 2014-2020. Together with the revision of the Financial Regulation, all these proposals make for a coherent set of rules having among others as an important feature the goal of simplification. They should be adopted by the end of 2013 in order to ensure that new programmes can start as of 1 January 2014.
In drawing up its proposals, the Commission assessed the functioning of existing spending instruments and programmes and consulted widely with citizens and stakeholders in view of designing such instruments and spending programmes, which would best match their needs and modes of operation.
The full Communication "A simplification agenda for the 2014-2020 MFF":