The Commission has adopted a Delegated Regulation allowing Member States increased flexibility to use their Rural Development budget (EAFRD) commitments for the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).
Under the N+2 rules, any EAFRD funds "committed" in 2013 need to be spent by the end of 2015.
As some Member States have seen a lower take-up of some programmes than expected, this move provides more flexibility for transferring [unspent] funds between the different areas of RDP spending - the "axes" - and an extension in the deadline for presenting such changes.
Following requests from Member States for flexibility, the Commission has proposed to allow up to 5% of the total EAFRD budget to be transferred between axes of an RDP, rather than the 3% limit which is in the current regulation.
This will allow those national/regional programmes still facing difficulties in spending the existing commitments to shift a larger volume of funds between axes in order to increase the take-up of unspent amounts.
The initiative also foresees the extension of the deadline by which Member States can present amendments to their RD programmes until 30 September, instead of the existing August 31 deadline.
These changes should enable Member States to be more efficient in using their RDP commitments for certain measures with good absorption instead of keeping funds frozen in measures with a lower uptake.
The text of this Delegated Regulation is now submitted to the scrutiny procedure by the European Parliament and the Council.