The 5 following cohesion policy programmes are concerned: the 'Transport Infrastructure, environment and sustainable development' programme in Greece, the Lubelskie regional programme in Poland, the Extremadura regional programme in Spain, the 'Competitiveness and cohesion' programme in Croatia and the 'Regions in Growth' programme in Bulgaria.
Commissioner for regional policy Corina Creţu said: "To fully unlock the potential of public investment in terms of growth and jobs, solid institutions and well-functioning administration are as important as the money itself. In the next long term EU budget, lessons drawn from this pilot action will help boost the effectiveness and performance of EU and public national funds alike in the future."
To improve the management of EU funded programmes in the post-2020 period, experts from the Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) will provide tailored support. They will focus on building the right organisational structures and developing the right skills for staff. The experts will also help the authorities coordinate more smoothly with the other players involved in the roll-out of Cohesion Policy programmes, such as business and social partners, development agencies and civil society organisations.
The first phase of the pilot, summer 2018 - March 2019, will be dedicated to establishing a roadmap for administrative capacity-building. With the support of the experts, the authorities will draw up a series of improvements to be made in four areas: 1) organisational set-up and transparency; 2) human resources; 3) internal procedures, tools and ICT systems; and 4) good governance, including interaction with external stakeholders.
The programme authorities will implement the roadmap during the second phase of the pilot, as of 2019. The Commission will actively support them, with further expert advice and tools such as the competency framework and the networking instrument PEER 2 PEER.
€900,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has been set aside for the development of the first phase of the roadmaps in the five countries. The budget of the second phase will be decided at a later stage.
The Commission will evaluate the results of the pilot by the end of 2019. The conclusions drawn will feed into the development of guidance on administrative capacity-building for the authorities in charge of handling EU funds programmes in the next long term funding period.
This pilot action is part of the Commission's broader effort to provide tailored assistance to Member States and regions to help them improve the way they manage and invest cohesion policy funds and foster more ownership, coordination and prioritisation in regional investment and development strategies.
Since the beginning of the 2014-2020 budgetary period, the Commission took a number of initiatives to help Member States make the best use of the available funding, establish local growth strategies and develop quality projects.
The five national and regional authorities selected today responded to a Commission call for participation published at the end of February 2018 – see news item here.
Factsheet – Commission initiatives to improve the way Member States and manage EU funds