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More financial efficiency, less bureaucracy! AER presents their survey on the experience of regions in their funding applications and management of EU funds


02 Feb 2011


EU Priorities 2020
Regional Policy

Brussels (B), 2 February 2011.

The Assembly of European Regions (AER), through its Working Group on European funding, today presented a survey of its members to which 23 regions of 14 countries responded. The study aims to better understand and provide concrete answers to the challenges facing regions in the funding and management of EU funds. This topic is highly topical as planning for the post-2014 period has already begun.

Positive aspects recognised, but there are unavoidable obstacles from the regional point of view

Regions highlight the importance and benefits of EU funds: the period of long-term programming (7 years) gives essential stability whilst credits allow funding for innovative initiatives in the regions - evidence of the added value of community funds. They are clearly one of the pillars for the development of key regional strategies, and an engine for sharing experiences and expertise with other countries and territories. However, the EU is not without fault: bureaucracy was reported by 86% of respondents as a major obstacle to obtaining funds whilst 71% stated it was an issue in the management of funds.

The survey explains that it is absolutely crucial to improve the efficiency of EU funds in regions as it is for institutions, through the harmonization of rules and procedures for application and a rebalancing of the controls. “We, in Alsace, conduct concrete actions and outreach assistance to engage more and more local players in European programs, as regions cannot overcome these difficulties alone. " said Mr. Andre REICHARDT, First Vice-President of the Alsace Region and Chairman of the AER Working Group on European funding. "Our survey clearly shows that there are areas of satisfaction but also room to improve on these topics, and I hope that these results, lifted directly from the experience of regional players on the ground, will be taken into account by policy makers of Europe” he added.

Recommendations for making European credits more accessible and effective post-2013

- Harmonize the rules between the different programs (eg. regarding the eligibility of co-financing in kind) and at different stages of the files (eg. harmonize the application forms, reports, etc.)
- Introducing more financial flexibility and more widely authorize lump sum payments, or by unit cost
- Give more autonomy and power to the regions in the management of EU funds
- Match the requirements of reporting and control to the amount of EU funds received.
- Improve access to information and assistance for the EU funds by creating a unique website that would serve as a portal for information on all EU funding (instead of having to visit the various websites of Head Offices or executive agencies).

In this post-financial crisis context more than ever, it is essential to optimise the European funds. It is imperative to move from policy of control to a policy of trust to release the creativity and energy of regions, instead of locking them in more and more bureaucracy.

Regions that participated in the survey
Andalucia (E), Arad (RO), Balearci Islands (E), Brasov (RO), Carinthia (A), Central Macedonia (MK), Central Ostrobothnia (FIN), Champagne-Ardenne (F), Dalarna (S), East Sweden Region (S), Gelderland (NL), Hampshire (UK), Hesse (D), Kent (UK), Krapina-Zargorje County (HR), Lower Austria (A), Lower Silesia (PL), Norrbotten (S), Puglia (I), Vaesernorrland (S), Vasterbotten (S), Trencin (SK).

The Assembly of European Regions (AER – is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 34 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.

AER Contacts
Francine Huhardeaux
Head of Press & Communications
+33 3 88 22 74 49

Valentina Guerra / Antonio Buscardini
Press & Communication Assistants
+33 3 88 22 74 33/44  -
Valérie Borne
Funding Coordinator
+32 2 880 95 68

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