EU Funds – keeping it simple

​Oldřich Vlasák (Councillor for the City of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic / Vice-President of the ECR Group) has been appointed by fellow local and regional politicians as rapporteur for the European Committee of the Region's opinion on 'Final Conclusions and Recommendations of the High Level Group on Simplification post-2020'.

The goal of the Committee of the Regions opinion, due to be prepared under the leadership of Oldřich Vlasák, will be to present the ideas of local and regional authorities on how the EUs Cohesion Policy could be simplified for the future.

"The EUs Cohesion Policy is in serious need of simplification. We need to simplify rules in order to reduce the administrative burdens imposed on beneficiaries. There is no doubt that Cohesion Policy has brought many positive and tangible results to local communities across the continent. However, access to the Fund and its management is difficult for local and regional authorities. The Funds need to be reformed so that they are easier to access, especially for small towns and municipalities. What we also need is to have a policy that is more bottom-up and based on clear rules and mutual trust. For a reliable and effective shared management system we need to find ways to ensure that the partnership principle is properly applied", said Mr Vlasák.

The partnership principle underperins the EUs Cohesion Policy and helps to ensure that actions are adapted to local and regional needs and priorities. The principle is also encoded in the European Code of Conduct on the Partnership Principle that regulate the use of European Structural and Investment Funds.

The High Level Group (HLG) on monitoring simplification for beneficiaries of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) was set up by the European Commission in July 2015. The final conclusions and recommendations of the HLG were adopted at its 10th meeting on 11 July 2017 and provide specific options for the preparation of post-2020 legislative proposals regarding the ESIF.

The initial discussion and the adoption of the opinion in the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) are due to take place on 13 December 2017 and the plenary adoption during the first CoR plenary session in 2018.