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Objective 1: the results of the programming of the Structural Funds for 2000-06 (July 2001)

files of the communication : esdadeelenfritnlptfisv
and technical annexes : enfr (working document)

On average, the Structural Funds programming process for 2000-06 was completed after some 8-12 months of negotiation between the Member States and the Commission. For the Union as a whole, these programmes represent EUR 127.5 billion.

The resources will have a significant effect on attracting investment and should, by 2006, boost GDP levels appreciably in real terms in the regions concerned.

  • Investment levels are expected to rise by 20% in Greece, 14% in Portugal and 6% in the eastern Lńnder of Germany by 2006.
  • Real GDP gains up to 2006 should be in the order of 6% for Greece and Portugal, 2.4% for Spain and 4% for the eastern German Lńnder.

The Commission communication is an initial assessment of the quality of Structural Funds programming for 2000-06.

In general, the negotiations revealed greater efforts to concentrate funding on four key fields of Community action: transport infrastructure, research and innovation, information technology and developing human resources.

In addition, for four countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain), establishing strategic reference frameworks will improve consistency between ERDF and Cohesion Fund operations in the fields of transport and the environment.

Important advances have been made, in particular regarding cooperation (partnership) on the preparation of regional development plans and the implementation of more rigorous monitoring, control and evaluation systems.

Although the assessment is on the whole positive, some problems persist:

  • The average time taken to adopt programmes is between eight months and a year instead of the five months envisaged in the Regulations. There is a balance to be struck between the duration of the negotiations and the quality of programming.
  • In several Member States the new management, control and monitoring systems had been laid down in general terms, but the implementation details remained to be specified. Such systems are essential if European taxpayers are going to be persuaded that Community funding is being well spent across the Union.
  • Performance reserve. Under the new rules, the performance reserve is supposed to be used as a "bonus" for the most efficient programme in each Member State. Some Member States are not taking the competitive aspect of the performance reserve fully into consideration.
  • Partnership system. The new rules make provision for the effective involvement of regional partners (central government, the regions), the social partners and civil society. During the programming process, the Commission noted that some Member States were involving these sectors less directly and effectively than others.


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