EC calls on member states to help simplify funding
The European Commission has proposed new measures to simplify the administrative process surrounding EU funding for small business projects and programmes, but it warns that the plans will only succeed with cooperation from member states.
In a new Communication, the Commission sets out plans to “reduce the administrative burden and facilitate access to funds by EU citizens and businesses”.
For example, it points out that grant beneficiaries can face several time-consuming audits each year by both their national authority and the EC. One of the simplification measures it is proposing is for projects worth less than €100,000 to be audited just once, and larger projects to be limited to one audit a year.
However, the Commission has said that “simplification is ultimately a shared responsibility between the EU Institutions and Member States, which means that combined efforts are required throughout the legislative process for both the general rules of the Financial Regulation and the sector-specific rules.
“Simplification efforts at the EU level will not be fully effective, unless they are accompanied by parallel efforts at the national and sub-national level”.
At the end of last year a report from the Industrial Communities Alliance (ICA) warned that funding via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) had stalled since the abolition of Regional Development Agencies, and time was running out before the remaining money, estimated to around £1 billion, ceased to be available. The deadline for allocations is at the end of 2013.
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