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Faster and simpler access to EU funds for European businesses, towns, regions and scientists

The Commission has adopted its new detailed Rules of application, following the recent entry into force of the new Financial Regulation. The delivery of EU funds to businesses, NGOs, researchers, students, municipalities and other recipients will be improved as of 1 January 2013 thanks to simplified procedures. The new legislation increases transparency and introduces higher accountability for anyone dealing with EU finances. It includes wider possibilities to use lump sums and flat rates for smaller amounts, eliminates the need to fill in the same details every time you apply for EU funds and introduces on-line applications as well as many other new features.

“This new regulation brings significant improvements to all beneficiaries of EU funding. We succeeded in reducing administrative burden for recipients of Union funds, which translates into easier access and a shortened time span for getting funding from the European budget. The new rules pave the way for a more effective use of EU resources. It is important for any European citizen as in the times of crisis the EU budget plays an important role in boosting jobs and growth. Making EU funds more accessible and increasing the accountability of those who manage these funds is one of the major tasks of my mandate” said Janusz Lewandowski, European Commissioner for budget and financial programming.

Simplification

The revised Financial Regulation contains numerous improvements which will make the life of recipients of Union funds easier. The period between calls for proposals and the conclusion of grant agreements and payment deadlines will be shortened. The emphasis of the grant system will be shifted from reimbursing cost claims to payments for the delivery of results through a greater use of lump sums, flat rates, unit costs. A greater use of prizes, paid to the winner of a contest for developing the solution to a pre-defined problem ('inducement prizes') will also contribute to simplify administration and strengthen the result-orientation of EU funding. Beneficiaries of EU funds will no longer be obliged to open separate interest bearing bank accounts. Furthermore, even if interest is generated, it will not have to be returned to the EU Budget and neither will it be counted as revenue of the project. This addresses a major concern of grant beneficiaries and other stakeholders, in particular from the research and the NGO community, that was brought up during the public consultation of 2009 preceding the Commission's proposal of 2010.