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Chapter 21 - Regional policy and co-ordination of structural instruments
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December 2004

Background

The acquis under Chapter 21 is currently covered by a framework regulation laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds (Council Regulation (EC) 1260/1999) as well as by a series of implementing regulations and decisions, which do not require transposition into national legislation. However, upon accession, the candidate countries will have to comply with certain requirements, which are addressed in the context of accession negotiations:

  • Legislative framework: Although the acquis under chapter 21 does not require transposition into national legislation, the candidate countries need to have the appropriate legal framework allowing for the implementation of the specific provisions in this area.
  • Territorial organisation: The candidate countries need to agree with the Commission a provisional NUTS classification for the implementation of Structural Funds.
  • Programming capacity: The candidate countries
    • need to design a development plan, as required in Council Regulation 1260/1999,
    • have the appropriate procedures for multi-annual programming of budgetary expenditure in place,
    • ensure the implementation of the partnership principle at the different stages of programming, financing, monitoring and evaluation of Structural Funds assistance,
    • comply with the specific monitoring and evaluation requirements, in particular as regards the ex-ante evaluation of the development plan.
  • Institutional framework - administrative capacity: The candidate countries have to define clear tasks and responsibilities of all the bodies and institutions involved in the preparation and implementation of Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, they have to ensure appropriate administrative capacity and an effective inter-ministerial co-ordination. However, how the specific structures for the practical management of Structural and the Cohesion Funds look like is left to candidate countries. In practice, the administrative structures to be put in place differ quite considerably between countries, e.g. small candidate countries without regionalisation and big candidate countries with a strong regionalisation.
  • Financial and budgetary management: The candidate countries need to comply with the specific control provisions applicable to the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund. Furthermore, they need to provide information on their co-financing capacity as well as on the level of their public or equivalent expenditure for structural actions.

State of play

Negotiations on this chapter were closed with the 10 now New Member States in December 2002. They were provisionally closed with Bulgaria in June 2004 and with Romania in September 2004. The chapter has been definitely closed with these two countries in December 2004.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/key_documents/reports_2004_en.htm.

Country by Country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: November 2001
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2004)

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 2002

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 2002)

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002)

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in July 2002)

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002)

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002)

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in July 2002)

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2002)

Romania

  • Chapter opened: March 2002
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in September 2004)

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in July 2002)

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in July 2002)
Updated: 17/12/2004
 
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