EU regulations and directives need to be carefully observed
The national and regional administration of EU Funding is subject to uniform EU-wide regulations. These regulations implementation can prove especially challenging in terms how they are applied and how funding can be taken up more efficiently. It is our aim to simplify these regulations and their practical application. The European Academy for Taxes, Economy & Law supports administrative authorities throughout Europe in implementing these rules and regulations so that applicants for funding from all parts of Europe make progress and benefit from the Academy’s special training courses.
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Technical Assistance (TA) for European Structural Funds has been in use for several years now. However, there are many changes that will apply to Technical Assistance in the new Programming Period 2014-2020.
Energy projects are at the centre of attention in the current programming period 2014-2020. Projects in the fields of energy efficiency (EE), renewable energies (RE) and CO2 reduction have a special focus due to their importance in reaching the Europe 2020 goals.
The EU Member States have already prepared their Operational Programmes (OPs) outlining the investment plans for EU Structural and Investment Funds for the 2014-2020 programming period.
The current Programming Period 2014-2020 holds lots of opportunities to fund innovative ideas and projects. The architecture of European Funds and direct grants continues to offer a wide range of funding opportunities in the Member States. However, funding is often not used as effectively as possible or it may be denied due to lack of knowledge or poor planning. Although the numerous programmes and initiatives have different features, the development and implementation of projects in practice follow common rules.
The proper handling of the rules for the eligibility of expenditure in EU funded projects has proven to be very challenging and remains difficult in the new period 2014-2020. Disregarding the rules for eligibility of expenditure causes many irregularities.
Many authorities within the management and control system of EU Funds still face considerable difficulties and uncertainties when it comes to detecting and handling (suspected) fraud cases. They are presented with the challenge of distinguishing these cases from irregularities as well as identifying necessary actions.
The European Union (EU) and its Member States are the world’s biggest donors, providing more than half of all development cooperation funding worldwide. However, in order to cooperate with the EU successfully and to benefit from the external cooperation funds, beneficiaries have to comply with a multitude of accounting regulations for projects financed by the EU.
The European Commission has set out detailed arrangements on the management and control systems to be operated by Member States for the EU Structural Funds in both programming periods (2007-2013 and 2014-2020).
EU Member States have already made some practical experiences with Financial Engineering Instruments. However, in the last programming period, only 5% of the entire ERDF resources were distributed through Financial Instruments (FI). For the current programming period 2014-2020, the European Commission demands an increased use of this innovative tool.
The new programming period has begun and the National Programmes are in the process of their submission and examination by the European Commission. With the new year comes the practical implementation of the rules and regulations for the two remaining Home Affairs Funds: the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF).
The ESI Funds 2014-2020 offer the possibility to support an operation comprising a series of works, activities or services of a precise economic or technical nature (for which the total eligible costs exceed 50 million Euro) as well as operations contributing to one thematic objective (where the total eligible costs exceed 75 million Euro) such as transport, water, waste and energy projects.
The ESI Funds have been redirected to fulfill special requirements and needs of the European Union until 2020. This means that there are new requirements to meet when applying for ESI funding.
The new EU Directives on Public Procurement implicate a number of modifications and bring in some significant changes, particularly to the range of contracts subject to the EU public procurement regime.
The practical introduction of eCohesion systems requires Member States to establish electronic data exchange systems which allow the exchange of all information between Managing, Certifying and Audit Authorities as well as Intermediate Bodies, on the one hand, and beneficiaries, on the other hand, to take place electronically.
With the start of the new programming period 2014-2020 new regulations and rules regarding financial management, control and audit have been introduced. On the basis of the Common Provisions Regulation, Fund-specific rules as well as delegated and implementing acts EU-Member States have created and set up management and control systems for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) 2014-2020.
Revenue generating projects under Art 61 of the Regulation (EC) 1303/2013 are projects that generate net income after their completion. These include investments in infrastructure which generate direct incomes (net revenues) for their utilisation.
For the new Programming Period 2014-2020, the European Commission pays increased attention to communication as well as to results and outcomes in European Investment and Structural Funds (ESI Funds). Managing Authorities or intermediate bodies have to carefully set up communication plans, in order to raise participation and ensure high quality projects as well as to make public investment more visible and transparent.
2015 is a crucial moment for experts dealing with EU Funds. Most Operational Programmes have been published, so that it is time to start new projects and write new project proposals in the current programming period 2014-2020. The Commission emphasises an increased use of financial instruments and aims at simplified and more coherent solutions.
EU Funds Project Managers have to deal with several challenging management tasks specific to EU Funds. Their work refers to different aspects and phases of project and programme management which require a high level of expertise.
EU-funded projects put high demands on project leaders and coordinators. Especially the correct financial accounting of the project constitutes a great challenge. Beneficiaries have to follow strict and complex rules set up by the European Commission.