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What are the Structural Funds implementation principles ?

The work of the Structural Funds is based on four principles:
    1. The concentration of measures on the priority objectives for development.

    2. Programming, which results in multi-annual development programmes, the result of a process leading to a decision taken thorough partnership. The process has a number of stages. The adopted measures then become the responsibilty of the managing authority.

    3. Partnership, which implies the closest possible co-operation between the Commission and the appropriate authorities at national, regional or local level in each Member State from the preparatory stage to the implementation of measures.

    4. Additionality, which means that Community assistance complements the contributions of the Member States rather than reducing them. Except for special reasons, the Member States must maintain public spending on each Objective at no less than the level reached in the preceding period.

Furthermore, relations between the Commission and the member States are governed by the principle of subsidiarity, which is enshrined in the Treaty of Maastricht. In general terms, this means that a higher authority may not and must not act if an objective can be achived satisfactorily at a lower level. One consequence of this is that it is up to the managing authorities appointed by the Member States to select the projects to be financed and to supervise their implementation.


 

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