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Financial Management

Although the Structural Funds are part of the EU budget, the way they are spent is based on a system of shared responsibility between the European Commission and national authorities:

  • the Commission negotiates and approves development programmes proposed by EU countries, and allocates resources.
  • the EU countries / regions manage the programmes, implement them by selecting projects, control and assess them.
  • the Commission is involved in programme monitoring, commits and pays out approved expenditure and verifies the control systems.

For each operational programme, the national authority appoints:

  • a managing authority (national, regional or local public authority or public/private body to manage the operational programme)
  • a certification body (national, regional or local public authority or body to certify the statement of expenditure and the payment applications before their transmission to the Commission)
  • an auditing body (national, regional or local public authority or body for each operational programme to oversee the efficient running of the management and monitoring system).

New simplified rules

One programme = one fund

This allows the ERDF and the ESF to each finance actions falling within the scope of another fund (limited to ≤10% of the EU resources allocated to each priority area of an operational programme)

An exception is that the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund jointly fund infrastructure and environment programmes.

Commitments

Budgetary commitments for operational programmes are made per annual proportion, per fund and per objective. The Commission commits the first annual proportion before the adoption of the operational programme. Afterwards, it commits the proportions by 30 April each year.

Automatic decommitment

A portion of the budgetary commitment is automatically decommitted by the Commission if it remains unused or if no payment application has been received by the end of the second year following the year of the budgetary commitment.

Conditions for financing

Lisbon "targeting"

Funds must now target EU growth and jobs priorities (Lisbon strategy). The Commission and the EU countries ensure that 60% of all countries' expenditure on Convergence and 75% of expenditure on Competitiveness and Employment target these priorities. Categories of expenditure pdf [79KB]

Co-financing ceilings

Maximum co-financing for each objective:

  • Convergence: 75% – 85%
  • Competitiveness and Employment: 50% – 85%
  • European Territorial Cooperation: 75% – 85%
  • Cohesion Fund: 85%

Eligible expenditure

Eligible expenditure is incurred between 1.1.2007 - 31.12.2015. Co-financed transactions must not be completed before the start date for eligibility. Rules are established at national level except where the specific fund rules state otherwise (different from the 2000-06 period where the rules were set at EU level).

"Rules and conditions applicable to actions co-financed from Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund- An overview of the eligibility rules in the programming period 2007-2013" - February 2009 pdf

Education and training events

See funds management for 2000-2006

EU Regional Policy: Stay informed