Study: New assessment of ESIF administrative costs and burden

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The study established a new baseline concerning the administrative costs and burden of the current ESIF programming period, with a common approach for all five ESI Funds.

Although managing and implementing ESIF programmes is a highly complex and demanding task, the overall administrative costs are judged to be reasonable. Given that transparent and responsible handling of public money and ensuring high-quality investments requires the commitment of considerable administrative resources, 4% of administrative costs (average aggregated costs, taking into account the weighted allocation of Funds) that are some 26 billion EUR or 610 000 FTE over a programming period handling 646 billion EUR are not considered excessive. This corresponds to 40 300 EUR respectively 0.95 person years per million Euro of eligible budget including national co-financing. These costs are also consistent with the volume of support granted under technical assistance.

Overall, there are considerable variations in administrative costs between ESI Funds and types of Operational Programmes. The programme characteristics influencing administrative costs the most are the financial volume, the number of beneficiaries and the thematic focus of the programme.

Clear reductions of administrative costs and burden resulting from regulatory innovations found in the post-2020 CPR proposal are expected. The most effective simplifications are the reduction of the number of verifications and the increased uptake of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs).

New assessment of ESIF administrative costs and burden