Starting with Sweden and France, a new regulation reduces administrative burden for ESF and YEI projects, allows quicker reimbursement and makes programmes simpler, safer, quicker and more oriented towards outputs and results
The European Commission has adopted a regulation to define standard scales of unit costs and lumps sums for the reimbursement of expenditure by the Commission to Member States. Starting with Sweden and France, the new system will allow for quicker and easier reimbursements of activities under the ESF and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). This means a significant cut in red tape for the two Member States and an important saving on valuable resources, affecting all partners and NGOs. The Commission also calls on the other Member States to develop and use simplified cost systems.
Simplification is high on the Commission’s agenda, supported by the European Parliament and the Council. As far as the ESF is concerned, this means making its implementation simpler, safer and more geared towards outputs and results. There is comprehensive evidence that the use of simplified cost options contributes to sound financial management of the ESF and reduces the risk of irregularities.
The standard scales of unit costs and lump sums in the regulation were defined on the basis of data collected among Member States. Sweden and France have been the first countries to submit acceptable specific national systems for defining standard scales of unit costs and lump sums. In Sweden, fixed rates for the work of project staff and for support paid to participants have been set.
For the French YEI programme, a reimbursable unit cost of €3 600 has been agreed for each participant with a positive outcome after 12 month in the French Youth Guarantee. This means a clear shift from tracing, reimbursing and auditing costs such as salaries, room rent, overheads to streamlined payments based on results.
Other countries can develop their own systems directly, or submit them also to the Commission for consideration and possible inclusion in this regulation – for several countries, this process is already underway.