20th annual report on implementation of the structural funds (2008)
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2008 was the ninth year in which Structural Funds programmes and projects for the 2000-2006 programming period were implemented. Altogether 718 were managed in 2008.
In addition to implementation of 2000-2006 Structural Funds programmes and projects and preparation for their closure, the Commission was also heavily involved in planning and programming of 434 programmes (317 ERDF, 117 ESF) of the 2007-2013 period in 2008.
Efforts were continued to improve the quality of programmes and projects co-financed by the Structural Funds, an objective which also covers reliable financial management of programmes. The partnership model, better financial management, control and evaluation have produced very high quality results and also made for good governance of co-funded programmes and projects.
The ex post evaluation of Objectives 1 and 2 programmes for 2000-2006 is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. The ex post evaluation for the ESF programmes is planned to be finalised early 2010. Furthermore, the ex post evaluations for Community initiatives URBAN and INTERREG were also launched in 2008. The ex post evaluation of the EQUAL Community Initiative was launched early 2009. Concerning the FIFG, the outsourcing of the ex post evaluations was launched at the end of 2008.
Exchange of experience was promoted, notably through interregional and urban networks and the conference "Regions for Economic Change" in February 2008, where for the first time "RegioStars" were awarded to good practice innovation projects.
As the biggest event ever organised in relation to Cohesion Policy, the OPEN DAYS "European week of regions and cities", was held together with the Committee of the Regions and 216 regions and cities across the EU with the headline "Regions and cities in a challenging world".
Both the Slovenian and the French presidencies acknowledged the importance of the ESF by organising high level conferences, namely one in Maribor in June 2008 and one in Le Havre in September 2008.
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