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 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).
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.
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 third year following the year of the budgetary commitment.
Conditions for financing
Maximum co-financing rates:
Eligible expenditure is incurred between 1.1.2014 - 31.12.2023. 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.