Europe: Simpler rules for beneficiaries of EU funds on the way
The EU is simplifying the rules on how to use money allocated from the EU budget. On 19 April 2018, the Council endorsed an agreement reached with the European Parliament on the so-called Omnibus regulation on EU financial rules. The simplification is applicable for several funds both managed directly by the Commission or indirectly by various organisations and bodies, independently or jointly with national authorities.
Pending final adoption on July 2018, key changes for beneficiaries will include:
Reimbursement of costs made easier
The new rules will extend the possibility of basing EU payments on the achievement of results or on pre-defined method rather than tracing every euro of expenditure. This will reduce paperwork for both beneficiaries and authorities, who will be able to focus on policy achievements rather than collecting and checking financial documents. The risk of error will also decrease and it will become easier for small beneficiaries with limited resources to access EU funds. Small organisations will also benefit from the fact that volunteer work will be recognised as part of their contribution towards the co-financing requirement.
Single checks and assessments
In order to avoid multiple controls of the same activities and entities, the Commission will be able to rely more on audits and assessments carried out by its international partners and member states. These measures will further cut red tape and allow beneficiaries such as NGOs which receive money from several donors to focus on their work on the ground.
Simpler rules for the combination of funding sources
Several amendments are aimed at facilitating the use of different programmes and instruments for the funding of projects, applying a single set of rules where possible. This will encourage the use of a wide mix of contributions from national budgets and private investors.
EU financial rules are also reorganised to make them more concise and easier to read. The financial regulation and the most important provisions of its ’rules of application’ have been merged into a so-called ’single rulebook'. Emphasis is also put on commonalities between the different management modes and types of budget implementation by consolidating the respective rules.