Category Archives: Provisions and Instruments of Regional Policy

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Rural Development and Fisheries

A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

A stronger partnership for the outermost regions

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 26 May 2004. “A stronger partnership for the outermost regions” [COM(2004) 343 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Seven of the regions in the European Union are classified as ‘outermost’: the four French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and Réunion), the Spanish Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, and the Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.

The outermost regions have to cope with specific constraints – remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, as well as economic dependence on a few products – all factors the permanence and combination of which severely restrain their socio-economic development. (Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty).

Priorities for action

The action plan for developing the outermost regions proposed by the Commission will be grouped in three fields of action to take into account their specific needs. The three priorities for action are:

  • promoting accessibility. The proposed measures are designed to reduce the main constraints arising from the isolation of these regions.
  • improving competitiveness. This priority aims to create an economic environment that favours the setting up of businesses. Otherwise, firms remain restricted to a limited local market that is fragmented and remote.
  • prioritising regional intergration. Regional intergration aims to develop trade in goods and services between these regions and neighbouring non-member countries. It is important to encourage their intergration into their surrounding geographical area.

COHESION POLICY REFORM

The strategy comes under the general context of the European Cohesion Policy reform for the period 2007-13. The third report on social and economic cohesion of February 2004 sets out the Commission’s priorities for the cohesion policy after 2006. In the context of the outermost regions, the report states that these regions are eligible for any of the regional policy objectives after 2006: Convergence, Regional Competitiveness and Employment and European Territorial Cooperation.The report also proposes

  • setting up a specific programme to compensate for additional costs;
  • implementing the ‘wider neighbourhood’ action plan.

These elements are the subject of the legislative proposals (proposals for Regulations of 14 July 2004 – general regulation and ERDF Regulation) and non legislative proposals (strategic Community guidelines) by the Commission, in particular within the general context of the reformed European Cohesion Policy.

Additional allocation to compensate for extra costs

For the period 2007-13, the Commission proposes an additional allocation to compensate for the handicaps and constraints of the outermost regions, which cause additional production costs. The program will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This allocation aims to reduce the problems set out in the EC Treaty that, along with the factors of competitivity and accessibility, hinder the economy of the outermost regions.

The objectives of the programme are aimed at compensating:

  • difficulties of access due to their great isolation, fragmentation and topography;
  • small regional markets, breaking bulk and no or inadequate economic diversification;
  • environmental and climatic difficulties and the preservation of biodiversity.

The ‘wider neighbourhood’ action plan

A “wider neighbourhood” measure aimed at facilitating cooperation with the neighbouring countries, thereby increasing economic, social and cultural links, trade in goods and services and the movement of people. These regions are very close to the geographical markets of the Caribbean, America and Africa, particularly those of the ACP countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries parties to the Cotonou Agreement). This is not a financial instrument, but a Commission initiative in order to coordinate the efforts being made by the Community more efficiently, in all policies concerned.

The reformed European Cohesion Policy’s contribution to this action plan would be included under the new “European territorial cooperation” programme, which is based on two main principles:

  • transnational and cross-border cooperation;
  • trade and customs measures.

The priorities in the context of the European transnational and cross-border cooperation will require the following guidelines to be taken into account:

  • facilitating exchanges as regards transport, services and the information and communications technologies;
  • facilitating exchanges of persons (including the fight against illegal immigration);
  • exchanges of experience as regards regional integration.

The commercial policy’s contribution to this action plan is based on the actions in the field of commercial trade, and customs measures that focus on the need for the outermost regions to be integrated into their regional economy more efficiently. On one hand, the outermost regions must be included in the economic partnership agreements (EPA) between the EU and the ACP countries (ACP-EU) within the general context of the Cotonou Agreement. On the other hand, the outermost regions must be included in the Union’s preferential agreements with other non-member countries. In this context, the customs aspects must be taken into account.

OTHER COMMUNITY POLICIES

As well as the cohesion policy, the instruments used under the other Community policies can also help implement the development strategy for the outermost regions. These instruments come under the context of actions linked to competitiveness, growth and the specific constraints of the outermost regions.

Actions linked to competitiveness and growth

The additional costs impact on most of the sectors of the local economy producing goods and services in the outermost regions. This has resulted in a very poor diversification, an economy that is weak in job-creation and a higher degree of dependency than in the rest of the Union.

To overcome these constraints, this communication proposes the following actions linked to competitivity and growth in the following areas:

  • developing human resources;
  • public services, due to the lack of any real competition between economic operators, whether public or private;
  • innovation, the information society and research and technological development (in conjunction with the objectives of the Lisbon strategy);
  • the environment.

The specific characteristics which affect the situation of the outermost regions must also be taken into account as part of the revision of the guidelines on State aids for regional purposes.

Action on the constraints on the outermost regions

Use of the existing instruments in the fields of air transport and sea transport can reduce the impact of poor access to the outermost regions. The links concerned are those between the outermost regions and mainland Europe (in both directions), between the outermost regions themselves and within those regions.

In addition the Commission proposes several measures in the agriculture sector (regarding the Rural Development Fund, reforming the specific regulations for guidance on the remoteness and insularity (POSEI) or the scheme for the sugar and banana sectors, for example) and in the fisheries sector (under the new European Fisheries Fund, for example), taking into account the fragile production in these sectors.

Context

In order to press ahead with the implementation of Article 299(2) on the EC Treaty of the special status of the outermost regions, the Seville European Council June 2002 invited the Commission to submit a strategy for the outermost regions. The communication of May 2004 following this decision and implements the measures in this communication.

Related Acts

Commission Report, 14 March 2000, on the measures to implement Article 299(2) – the outermost regions of the European Union [COM(2000) 147 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report, 19 December 2002, on implementation of Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty: measures to assist the outermost regions [COM(2002) 723 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission, 18 February 2004. « A new partnership for Cohesion – Convergence, Competitiveness, Co-operation» Third Report on Economic and Social Coheison [COM(2004) 107 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Regulation, 14 July 2004, laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund [COM(2004) 492 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council, 14 July 2004, on the European Regional Development Fund [COM(2004) 495 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission, 6 August 2004, A stronger partnership for the outermost regions: situation and prospects (COM(2004) 343),

Communication from the Commission, 26 May 2004) [COM(2004) 543 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a temporary scheme for the restructuring of the sugar industry in the European Community and amending Regulation (EC) No 1258/1999 on the financing of the common agricultural policy [COM(2005) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Preparing the future Member States to implement the regional policy in the period 2004-2006

Preparing the future Member States to implement the regional policy in the period 2004-2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Preparing the future Member States to implement the regional policy in the period 2004-2006

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Preparing the future Member States to implement the regional policy in the period 2004-2006

1) Objective

To assess the progress of the measures taken by the future Member States to manage the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund in the period 2004-2006.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 16 July 2003 on the implementation of the commitments undertaken by the acceding countries in the context of accession negotiations on Chapter 21 – regional policy and coordination of structural instruments [COM(2003) 433 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

During the final accession negotiations with the future Member States, the European Council held in Copenhagen in December 2002 decided to grant the ten countries concerned an overall budget of EUR 21.7 billion for cohesion policy in the period 2004-2006. This amount significantly increases the assistance available to these countries through the pre-accession financial instruments (the Phare, ISPA and SAPARD programmes).

Although their accession is not until 1 May 2004, the future Member States will be eligible for the Structural Funds from 1 January 2004. They must therefore meet the following challenges before the end of 2003:

  • adopt the necessary legislative provisions for transposing the Community acquis on regional policy;
  • introduce administrative structures ensuring the implementation, monitoring and control of the regional development programmes.

The Commission has warned that it cannot approve Community funding until the rules governing the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are adopted and complied with.

In accordance with its commitment in this regard, the Commission has published a report on the readiness of the future Member States, based on detailed questionnaires addressed to them. Ten essential points need to be urgently resolved:

  • The delay in harmonising and implementing the rules on public procurement, state aids, the environment and equal opportunities is worrying.
    Technical assistance should be used to further strengthen the capacity of the national administrations. Notification of state aid schemes to the Commission must be speeded up. It is necessary to apply the provisions on environmental impact assessment, nature protection and waste management.
  • The future Member States must improve inter-ministerial coordination.
    A full definition of the respective roles of the managing bodies and the intermediate bodies is required. The independence of the certifying role of the paying authority needs to be clarified.
  • Shortcomings have been found in financial management and control.
    A better division of tasks between the management and control bodies is needed. The distinction between the management controls under the responsibility of the managing authority and the independent random sampling controls has to be clarified. Significant work must be done on defining the monitoring indicators and establishing a computerised system to collect and exchange data.
  • Not all the future Member States have yet established adequate accounting systems.
  • The recruitment of additional staff to manage the Structural Funds is behind schedule, particularly in the intermediate bodies and regional administrations.
  • The negotiations on the regional development programmes must be completed between now and the end of 2003.
    Achieving this would enable assistance to begin in January 2004. The future Member States have adopted a simplified programming approach involving a reduced number of operational programmes, priorities and measures, given the short period involved (2 years). Nevertheless, the programmes submitted do not follow a coherent strategy.
  • There are not enough planned measures in the project pipeline.
    The actions planned will not allow the increase in available funding from 2004 to be fully drawn down. Priority should be given to technical assistance measures.
  • Detailed planning of the national matching contribution for the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund must form part of project preparation.
  • A great effort must be made to ensure implementation of the partnership principle.
  • There are significant delays in introducing monitoring systems.

In November 2003, i.e. six months before accession, the Commission will publish a detailed monitoring report on the extent to which the ten future Member States have fulfilled their commitments in areas governed by the Community acquis. It will pay particular attention to the cohesion policy in the 2004-2006 period.

Once the programmes have been adopted and the provisions for their implementation are definitively in place, the Commission will examine the conformity of the systems.

More information on the launch of programming for the future Member States: Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States

1) Objective

To aid the future Member States in the preparation of their programming documents for the period 2004-06.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 12 March 2003 – Further indicative guidelines for the candidate countries [COM(2003) 110 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

In 1999 the Commission published indicative guidelines for the programmes for the period 2000-06 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999. The aim of this document was to help the national and regional authorities of the Member States draw up their programming documents. This communication does not replace the one issued in 1999, which remains the reference document, but supplements it by providing specific guidelines for the future Member States which take account of the institutional framework of enlargement and the special features of each of them.

The 10 future Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) will join the European Union on 1 May 2004. There are at present three financial instruments which are helping them prepare for accession:

  • ISPA, the forerunner of the Cohesion Fund (transport and the environment);
  • SAPARD (adjustment of the agricultural sector and rural areas);
  • the Phare programme (economic and social cohesion, cross-border cooperation).

The European Union is also providing assistance through loans from the European Investment Bank, technical assistance and improved administrative cooperation (twinning). To prepare for the management of the Structural Funds, a road map has identified three successive stages:

  • the designation of the authorities to implement the future programmes by the end of 2001;
  • the submission by the future Member States of development plans and draft programming documents at the time of signing the Treaty of Accession in April 2003;
  • use of the current interval to ratify the Treaties prior to accession to begin negotiations on the programming documents.

The first programming period for the future Member States

The first programming period for the future Member States will be very short (3 years), covering the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006. In addition, these countries’ administrative capacities will still be limited and in almost all their regions development is lagging behind. That means that Community assistance must be concentrated on the most urgent needs.

The approach adopted limits the number of items of Community assistance:

  • the programming documents;
  • transport:
  • environment: 
  • energy: 
  • fisheries: 
  • agriculture and rural development: 
  • employment and human resources: 
  • research and development: 
  • the business and innovation culture: 
  • the information society: 
    There are considerable disparities in the future Member States as regards telecommunications infrastructures. Progress has been made, particularly as regards broad-band access.
    Most countries need to make substantial investments to meet the Community acquis, which requires basic services (fixed lines, fax and Internet access) to be available everywhere at a reasonable price.
    Structural measures will help implement national and regional strategies for the information society through the eEurope action plan for 2005.

For further information, consult the following summary releases:

  • the challenge of enlargement;
  • the second progress report on economic and social cohesion,
  • the preparation of the future Member States to implement regional policy in 2004-06.

See also the press releases on the beginning of programming in the future Member States: (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia).

As well as those on adopting programmes in the new Member States: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Provisions and instruments of regional policy

2007-2013: General Framework

  • General provisions ERDF – ESF – Cohesion Fund (2007-2013)
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (2007-2013)
  • The European Social Fund (2007-2013)
  • European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC)
  • Interinstitutional Agreement on cooperation in budgetary matters

2007-2013: Rural Development and Fisheries

  • European Union strategic guidelines for rural development
  • Financing the common agricultural policy
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • Specific measures for the outermost regions
  • Specific measures in favour of the smaller Aegean islands
  • Access for rural areas to ICTs
  • European Fisheries Fund
  • Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

2000-2006: General Framework

  • Structural policy reform
  • Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006
  • Revised guidelines for 2000-2006 programmes
  • Further indicative guidelines for the future Member States
  • Preparing the future Member States to implement the regional policy in the period 2004-2006

2000-2006: 3 Priority Objectives

  • Objective 1
  • Objective 2
  • Objective 3

2000-2006: 4 Community Initiatives

  • INTERREG III (2000-2006)
  • INTERREG III C
  • EQUAL
  • LEADER+
  • URBAN II

2000-2006: Specific Areas

  • 2000-06: support for rural development within the framework of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)
  • Community action for regions bordering the candidate countries
  • Development and integrated management of coastal zones
  • A stronger partnership for the outermost regions
  • Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme (2000-2006)

2000-2006: Structural Funds

  • General provisions on the Structural Funds
  • ERDF: European Regional Development Fund
  • Innovative actions under the ERDF: 2000-06
  • The financing of the common agricultural policy (CAP)
  • ESF: European Social Fund.
  • FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Cohesion Fund

  • Cohesion Fund (2007-2013)
  • Cohesion Fund

European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF)

  • The European Union Solidarity Fund
  • Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

European Investment Bank (EIB)

  • The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank

Financing the common agricultural policy

Financing the common agricultural policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Financing the common agricultural policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > General framework

Financing the common agricultural policy

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 of 21 June 2005 on the financing of the common agricultural policy [See amending acts].

Summary

This Regulation establishes a single legal framework for financing CAP spending, creating two new funds: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Although operating in a similar fashion, each has certain specific features. Since some of the measures financed by these funds are those managed jointly with Member States, the Regulation sets out conditions under which the Commission may exercise its responsibilities for implementing the general budget and clarifies the areas in which Member States are obliged to cooperate.

The Regulation lays down the conditions under which Member States can accredit and withdraw accreditation from paying agencies and coordinating bodies. The agencies are responsible for making payments, whilst the bodies monitor the accounting carried out by the paying agencies. It also provides for the creation of certification bodies, public or private legal bodies appointed by the Member States which are responsible for certifying the management, monitoring and control systems implemented by the accredited paying agencies and the agencies’ annual accounts. The Member States are asked to take all necessary steps to effectively protect the financial interests of the Community. In addition, only expenditure incurred by accredited paying agencies will be financed by the Community and payments will be made in full to the beneficiaries.

EAGF

As regards expenditure managed jointly by the Member States and the Commission, the EAGF finances:

  • refunds for exporting farm produce to non-EU countries;
  • intervention measures to regulate agricultural markets;
  • direct payments to farmers under the CAP;
  • certain informational and promotional measures for farm produce implemented by Member States both on the internal EU market and outside it;
  • expenditure on restructuring measures in the sugar industry under Council Regulation (EC) No 320/2006;
  • programmes promoting the consumption of fruit in schools.

As regards expenditure managed centrally by the Commission, EAGF financing covers:

  • the Community’s financial contribution for specific veterinary measures, veterinary inspection and inspections of foodstuffs and animal feed, animal disease eradication and control programmes and plant-health measures;
  • promotion of farm produce, either directly by the Commission or via international organisations;
  • measures required by Community legislation to conserve, characterise, collect and use genetic resources in farming;
  • setting up and running farm accounting information systems;
  • farm survey systems;
  • expenditure relating to fisheries markets.

The monies to cover expenditure financed by the EAGF are paid by the Commission to the Member States in the form of monthly reimbursements. These are made on the basis of a declaration of expenditure and other information provided by the Member States. If funds are committed without following the Community rules, the Commission may decide to reduce or suspend payments.

The Commission sets the net balance available for EAGF spending and will put in place a monthly early-warning and monitoring system for such spending. Every month, it will present the Parliament and Council with a report examining spending trends in relation to the profiles set at the beginning of the financial year and assessing how these are likely to develop in the current year.

Any amounts recovered as a result of irregularities or negligence are paid to the paying agencies, which must book them in the month they are actually received as revenue earmarked for EAGF spending only.

EAFRD

The EAFRD finances rural development programmes implemented in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 solely where expenditure is jointly managed.

The budget commitments for this purpose will be made annually in the form of prefinancing, interim payments and payment of the final balance. Interim payments will be made for each rural development programme subject to the budget funding available within the ceiling limits established by Community legislation and the increased amounts laid down by the Commission in applying provisions laid down for direct payments to farmers and for the wine market. These payments will be made subject to certain conditions: for example, the Commission must be sent a declaration of expenditure and a payment claim certified by the accredited paying agency. If this declaration does not comply with the Community standards, the Commission may reduce or suspend payments.

In the event of any irregularities, Community financing will be totally or partially cancelled or, if the monies in question have already been paid to the beneficiary, they will be recovered by the accredited paying agency. The cancelled or recovered amounts may be used by the Member State for a different operation planned under the same rural development programme.

As regards payment of the balance, this is not made until the Commission has received the final implementing report on the implementation of a rural development programme and the corresponding clearance decision. If the necessary documents are not sent to the Commission, the balance will be automatically decommitted.

Commission controls

The Commission will ensure that the financial management of the Community Funds is sound, mainly through a two-stage clearance procedure: clearance of accounts and conformity clearance. The Member States must keep for the Commission all the information needed for the smooth running of the Funds. To supplement checks made by the Member States under national legislation, the Commission may organise on-site audits of its own. Payments made to a Member State under the EAGF and EAFRD may be reduced or suspended where certain serious and persistent deficiencies are detected.

The names of the beneficiaries of the Agricultural Funds, and the amounts they have received, must be made public after payment has been made.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005

18.8.2005

OJ L 209 of 11.8.2005
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 320/2006

3.3.2006

OJ L 58 of 28.2.2006

Regulation (EC) No 378/2007

12.4.2007

OJ L 95 of 5.4.2007

Regulation (EC) No 1437/2007

15.12.2007

OJ L 322 of 7.12.2007

Regulaton (EC) No 479/2008

13.6.2008

OJ L 148 of 6.6.2008

Regulation (EC) No 13/2009

16.1.2009

OJ L 5 of 9.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 73/2009

1.2.2009

OJ L 30 of 31.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 473/2009

9.6.2009

OJ L 144 of 9.6.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

RELATED ACTS

Available amounts and excluded expenditure

Decision 2008/321/EC [Official Journal L 109 of 19.4.2008].

This Decision contains a list of expenditure items excluded from Community financing because they do not comply with the CAP financing rules. The exclusion of such expenditure items, incurred by the paying agencies of certain Member States between 2002 and 2007, is a consequence of verifications, bilateral discussions and conciliation procedures and entails the deduction of the amounts concerned.

Decision 2009/379/EC [Official Journal L 117 of 12.5.2009].

The Decision lays down the amounts made available to the EAFRD and EAGF for the period 2007-2013.

Detailed rules for application

Regulation (EC) No 883/2006 [Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the keeping of accounts by the paying agencies, declarations of expenditure and revenue and the conditions for reimbursing expenditure under the EAGF and the EAFRD.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 884/2006[Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) of intervention measures in the form of public storage operations and the accounting of public storage operations by the paying agencies of the Member States.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 885/2006 [Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the accreditation of paying agencies and other bodies and the clearance of the accounts of the EAGF and of the EAFRD.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 259/2008 [Official Journal L 76 of 19.3.2008].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the publication of information on the beneficiaries of funds deriving from the EAGF and the EAFRD. This information must be published on a single website by 30 April of each year and must include beneficiaries’ personal details and the amounts received.

Clearance of accounts

Regulation (EC) No 941/2008 [Official Journal L 258 of 9.10.2009].

This Regulation lays down the form and content of the accounting information to be submitted to the Commission for the purpose of the clearance of the accounts of the EAGF and EAFRD, as well as for monitoring and forecasting purposes.

Decision 2009/373/EC [Official Journal L 116 of 9.5.2009].

This Decision presents the clearance of the accounts of the paying agencies of Member States concerning expenditure financed by the EAFRD for the 2008 financial year.

Decision 2009/367/EC [Official Journal L111 of 5.5.2009].

This Decision presents the clearance of the accounts of the paying agencies of Member States concerning expenditure financed by the EAGF for the 2008 financial year.

Irregularities, fraud and recovery

Regulation (EC) No 1848/2006 [Official Journal L 355 of 15.12.2006].

This act sets out information and investigation measures to be taken by the Member States in cases of fraud in connection with the financing of the CAP and sets up an information system in this field.

Surveys

Regulation (EC) No 78/2008 [Official Journal L 25 of 30.1.2008].

This act relates to the measures to be undertaken by the Commission in 2008-2013 making use of the remote-sensing applications developed within the framework of the common agricultural policy.


Another Normative about Financing the common agricultural policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Financing the common agricultural policy

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 of 21 June 2005 on the financing of the common agricultural policy [See amending acts].

Summary

This Regulation establishes a single legal framework for financing CAP spending, creating two new funds: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Although operating in a similar fashion, each has certain specific features. Since some of the measures financed by these funds are those managed jointly with Member States, the Regulation sets out conditions under which the Commission may exercise its responsibilities for implementing the general budget and clarifies the areas in which Member States are obliged to cooperate.

The Regulation lays down the conditions under which Member States can accredit and withdraw accreditation from paying agencies and coordinating bodies. The agencies are responsible for making payments, whilst the bodies monitor the accounting carried out by the paying agencies. It also provides for the creation of certification bodies, public or private legal bodies appointed by the Member States which are responsible for certifying the management, monitoring and control systems implemented by the accredited paying agencies and the agencies’ annual accounts. The Member States are asked to take all necessary steps to effectively protect the financial interests of the Community. In addition, only expenditure incurred by accredited paying agencies will be financed by the Community and payments will be made in full to the beneficiaries.

EAGF

As regards expenditure managed jointly by the Member States and the Commission, the EAGF finances:

  • refunds for exporting farm produce to non-EU countries;
  • intervention measures to regulate agricultural markets;
  • direct payments to farmers under the CAP;
  • certain informational and promotional measures for farm produce implemented by Member States both on the internal EU market and outside it;
  • expenditure on restructuring measures in the sugar industry under Council Regulation (EC) No 320/2006;
  • programmes promoting the consumption of fruit in schools.

As regards expenditure managed centrally by the Commission, EAGF financing covers:

  • the Community’s financial contribution for specific veterinary measures, veterinary inspection and inspections of foodstuffs and animal feed, animal disease eradication and control programmes and plant-health measures;
  • promotion of farm produce, either directly by the Commission or via international organisations;
  • measures required by Community legislation to conserve, characterise, collect and use genetic resources in farming;
  • setting up and running farm accounting information systems;
  • farm survey systems;
  • expenditure relating to fisheries markets.

The monies to cover expenditure financed by the EAGF are paid by the Commission to the Member States in the form of monthly reimbursements. These are made on the basis of a declaration of expenditure and other information provided by the Member States. If funds are committed without following the Community rules, the Commission may decide to reduce or suspend payments.

The Commission sets the net balance available for EAGF spending and will put in place a monthly early-warning and monitoring system for such spending. Every month, it will present the Parliament and Council with a report examining spending trends in relation to the profiles set at the beginning of the financial year and assessing how these are likely to develop in the current year.

Any amounts recovered as a result of irregularities or negligence are paid to the paying agencies, which must book them in the month they are actually received as revenue earmarked for EAGF spending only.

EAFRD

The EAFRD finances rural development programmes implemented in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 solely where expenditure is jointly managed.

The budget commitments for this purpose will be made annually in the form of prefinancing, interim payments and payment of the final balance. Interim payments will be made for each rural development programme subject to the budget funding available within the ceiling limits established by Community legislation and the increased amounts laid down by the Commission in applying provisions laid down for direct payments to farmers and for the wine market. These payments will be made subject to certain conditions: for example, the Commission must be sent a declaration of expenditure and a payment claim certified by the accredited paying agency. If this declaration does not comply with the Community standards, the Commission may reduce or suspend payments.

In the event of any irregularities, Community financing will be totally or partially cancelled or, if the monies in question have already been paid to the beneficiary, they will be recovered by the accredited paying agency. The cancelled or recovered amounts may be used by the Member State for a different operation planned under the same rural development programme.

As regards payment of the balance, this is not made until the Commission has received the final implementing report on the implementation of a rural development programme and the corresponding clearance decision. If the necessary documents are not sent to the Commission, the balance will be automatically decommitted.

Commission controls

The Commission will ensure that the financial management of the Community Funds is sound, mainly through a two-stage clearance procedure: clearance of accounts and conformity clearance. The Member States must keep for the Commission all the information needed for the smooth running of the Funds. To supplement checks made by the Member States under national legislation, the Commission may organise on-site audits of its own. Payments made to a Member State under the EAGF and EAFRD may be reduced or suspended where certain serious and persistent deficiencies are detected.

The names of the beneficiaries of the Agricultural Funds, and the amounts they have received, must be made public after payment has been made.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005

18.8.2005

OJ L 209 of 11.8.2005

Amending act(s)
Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 320/2006

3.3.2006

OJ L 58 of 28.2.2006

Regulation (EC) No 378/2007

12.4.2007

OJ L 95 of 5.4.2007

Regulation (EC) No 1437/2007

15.12.2007

OJ L 322 of 7.12.2007

Regulaton (EC) No 479/2008

13.6.2008

OJ L 148 of 6.6.2008

Regulation (EC) No 13/2009

16.1.2009

OJ L 5 of 9.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 73/2009

1.2.2009

OJ L 30 of 31.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 473/2009

9.6.2009

OJ L 144 of 9.6.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

RELATED ACTS

Available amounts and excluded expenditure

Decision 2008/321/EC [Official Journal L 109 of 19.4.2008].

This Decision contains a list of expenditure items excluded from Community financing because they do not comply with the CAP financing rules. The exclusion of such expenditure items, incurred by the paying agencies of certain Member States between 2002 and 2007, is a consequence of verifications, bilateral discussions and conciliation procedures and entails the deduction of the amounts concerned.

Decision 2009/379/EC [Official Journal L 117 of 12.5.2009].

The Decision lays down the amounts made available to the EAFRD and EAGF for the period 2007-2013.

Detailed rules for application

Regulation (EC) No 883/2006 [Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the keeping of accounts by the paying agencies, declarations of expenditure and revenue and the conditions for reimbursing expenditure under the EAGF and the EAFRD.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 884/2006[Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) of intervention measures in the form of public storage operations and the accounting of public storage operations by the paying agencies of the Member States.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 885/2006 [Official Journal L 171 of 23.6.2006].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the accreditation of paying agencies and other bodies and the clearance of the accounts of the EAGF and of the EAFRD.
See consolidated version .

Regulation (EC) No 259/2008 [Official Journal L 76 of 19.3.2008].

This Regulation lays down detailed rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the publication of information on the beneficiaries of funds deriving from the EAGF and the EAFRD. This information must be published on a single website by 30 April of each year and must include beneficiaries’ personal details and the amounts received.

Clearance of accounts

Regulation (EC) No 941/2008 [Official Journal L 258 of 9.10.2009].

This Regulation lays down the form and content of the accounting information to be submitted to the Commission for the purpose of the clearance of the accounts of the EAGF and EAFRD, as well as for monitoring and forecasting purposes.

Decision 2009/373/EC [Official Journal L 116 of 9.5.2009].

This Decision presents the clearance of the accounts of the paying agencies of Member States concerning expenditure financed by the EAFRD for the 2008 financial year.

Decision 2009/367/EC [Official Journal L111 of 5.5.2009].

This Decision presents the clearance of the accounts of the paying agencies of Member States concerning expenditure financed by the EAGF for the 2008 financial year.

Irregularities, fraud and recovery

Regulation (EC) No 1848/2006 [Official Journal L 355 of 15.12.2006].

This act sets out information and investigation measures to be taken by the Member States in cases of fraud in connection with the financing of the CAP and sets up an information system in this field.

Surveys

Regulation (EC) No 78/2008 [Official Journal L 25 of 30.1.2008].

This act relates to the measures to be undertaken by the Commission in 2008-2013 making use of the remote-sensing applications developed within the framework of the common agricultural policy.

The European Union Solidarity Fund

The European Union Solidarity Fund

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European Union Solidarity Fund

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

The European Union Solidarity Fund

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund.

Summary

The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was established in order to deal with major national disasters. It provides financial assistance to disaster-stricken States.

This Regulation establishes the rules and principles relating to intervention by the EUSF. In particular, it defines the conditions for applying for assistance from the EUSF, as well as the procedure to be followed. The Regulation also clarifies the means for implementing the grants accorded by the EUSF.

Conditions for intervention

The Solidarity Fund intervenes mainly in cases of major natural disasters with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy in one or more regions of a Member State or a country applying for accession to the European Union (EU).

A natural disaster is considered as ‘major’ if it results in damage on the State’s territory estimated either at over EUR 3 billion (2002 prices), or at more than 0.6 % of its gross national income.

In exceptional circumstances, the Fund may also be mobilised for “regional” disasters where a region experiences a disaster which affects the majority of its population, with serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and economic stability. Regions may also receive funds even when the applicable national threshold has not been reached. For these specific cases, the annual amount available is limited to no more than 7.5 % of the annual amount allocated to the Solidarity Fund (i.e. EUR 75 million). Particular attention is paid to remote and isolated regions, for example the outermost and island regions.

The EUSF may also be mobilised when a major disaster affects a neighbouring eligible State, even if the normal intervention threshold for that neighbour State has not been reached.

Objectives

The objective of assistance from the Fund is to complement the public efforts of the beneficiary State. Intended to finance measures alleviating non-insurable damage in principle, the urgent actions eligible for the Fund are the following:

  • Immediate restoration to working order of infrastructure and plant in the fields of energy, drinking water, waste water, telecommunications, transport, health and education;
  • Providing temporary accommodation and funding rescue services to meet the immediate needs of the population concerned;
  • Immediate securing of preventive infrastructures and measures of immediate protection of the cultural heritage;
  • Immediate cleaning up of disaster-stricken areas, including natural zones.

Procedure for applying for assistance

No later than ten weeks after the first damage caused by the disaster, the State affected should submit an application to the Commission for assistance from the Fund. It should provide all possible information on the damage caused by the disaster and its impact on the population and the economy. It must estimate the cost of the foreseen assistance and indicate any other sources of national, European and/or international funding.

On the basis of the information provided by the affected State, the Commission will decide if the mobilisation of the EUSF may be proposed to the budgetary authority (the European Parliament and the Council), which authorises the corresponding appropriations, on a case-by-case basis. Once the appropriations are available in the European budget, the Commission concludes an Agreement on implementation with the beneficiary State and accords a grant to be paid immediately and in a single instalment.

If the final estimation of the damage is substantially lower than the first forecasts on the basis of which the State demanded the grant, the Commission will ask for the reimbursement of the difference.

Implementing the grants accorded

The beneficiary State is responsible for the implementation of the grant and, where applicable, for the co-ordination with other European funds in order to ensure their complementarity. Double financing of the actions undertaken by the EUSF through the means of the Structural Funds is, however, not possible.

The grant must be used within one year of the date on which it has been disbursed. The beneficiary State must reimburse any part of the grant remaining unused. Six months after the expiry of this period, it is to present a report on the financial execution to the Commission. This document should detail the expenditure eligible for the Solidarity Fund as well as all other funding received, including insurance settlements and compensation from third parties.

On 1 October each year, at least one-quarter of the annual amount allocated to the Solidarity Fund should remain available in order to cover needs arising at the end of the year. In exceptional cases and if the remaining financial resources of the Fund prove insufficient, the Commission may decide to use part of the amount foreseen for the following year.

Final Provisions

Before 1 July each year, the Commission is to present a report on the activity of the Solidarity Fund.

Context

The EU’s Solidarity Fund was established following the floods which affected Central Europe during the summer of 2002. Ever since, it has intervened to deal with many different types of natural disasters, such as floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and droughts.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002

15.11.2002

OJ L 311, 14.11.2002

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 23 March 2011 – European Union Solidarity Fund Annual Report 2009 [COM(2011) 136 – OJ C 140 of 11.05.2011].

The L’Aquila earthquake in the Italian Abruzzo region was the largest natural disaster that the EUSF had to deal with since it was created. The amount of assistance reached almost half a billion euros, therefore constituting the most significant assistance ever provided by the Fund. The Commission states that the time period in which the assistance was provided is satisfactory, just over five months from the submission date of the application.
Furthermore, 2009 also highlighted the difficulties in activating the EUSF in cases of slowly unfolding disasters, such as the drought, for example. The Commission therefore recommends introducing a specific provision for these types of disasters.

Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management [Official Journal C 139 of 14.6.2006].

Revised guidelines for 2000-2006 programmes

Revised guidelines for 2000-2006 programmes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Revised guidelines for 2000-2006 programmes

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Revised guidelines for 2000-2006 programmes

1) Objective

To help the Member States, halfway through the current programming period (2000-2006), to update their programming documents.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 25.08.2003 – The Structural Funds and their coordination with the Cohesion Fund – Revised indicative guidelines [COM(2003) 499 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

In accordance with the Regulation laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds, the Commission adopted indicative guidelines in 1999. These were used by the Member States to draw up their programming documents for the period 2000-06.

2003 is the year for the mid-term evaluation and revision of the regional and national development programmes. The Commission is publishing this communication to help the Member States in this. While the 1999 guidelines remain valid, the Member States are being given a set of additional guidelines to take account of a number of factors with an impact on the Structural Funds’ deployment: the economic downturn, budgetary difficulties in the Member States and the evolution of Community policies with territorial impact. In addition, with enlargement looming, specific guidelines are provided on the programming of the future Member States for 2004-06.

In carrying out this review the Commission has been influenced mainly by:

  • policy initiatives emerging from European Councils;
  • Community policies whose legal framework has since evolved or is undergoing modification;
  • measures aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Structural Funds’ implementation.

The Member States will be sending the Commission their draft amendments of the regional development programmes. These amendments must include updating of the scoreboards for monitoring State aid schemes.

Commission follow-up of European Councils

The Lisbon European Council in March 2000 defined a new strategic objective for the European Union by 2010: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.

This objective opens the way for the Structural Funds to be reprogrammed so as to put more emphasis on competitivity factors like: the knowledge society, innovation, research, the environment, social integration, education and training.

Community policies whose evolution is likely to be influenced by the “Lisbon strategy” are:

  • employment and human resources

    The new European employment strategy is a key element of the implementation of the Lisbon strategy. Guidelines orient this strategy and pursue the following objectives: achieving full employment, improving the quality and productivity of work, encouraging cohesion and inclusion in the labour market. They specify clearly that the regional and local levels are the most relevant ones for the implementation of measures.
    When revising their programmes, the Member States should aim at: actively promoting employment (improvement of the public services for employment, personalised and preventative approach), increasing the efficiency of labour and favouring the integration of the most disadvantaged (women, the elderly and the handicapped, immigrants, minorities), encouraging life-long training, active ageing, entrepreneurial spirit, occupational mobility and equal opportunities.
    Priority should go to countering regional disparities and to creating jobs in the social economy.
  • sustainable development and the environment

    The Gothenburg European Council of June 2001 added an environmental dimension to Lisbon. It defined a sustainable development strategy for the EU, one that puts economic growth at the service of social progress and makes it subject to respect for the environment.
    Besides launching the Community action programme on the environment, the Commission has put in place a new impact evaluation instrument aimed at improving the quality and consistency of policy development procedures. This instrument makes it possible to identify the positive and negative consequences of proposed actions and extends to all major initiatives since 2003 [COM(2002)276 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    The Commission has also launched an evaluation of the contribution of the Structural Funds to sustainable development. Infrastructure projects, pollution and tourism can all have a negative impact on the environment.
    Programme review should accordingly include a fresh look at current procedures for the development and selection of projects in the light of their environmental impact. The revised Structural Fund measures may relate to the protection of Natura 2000 sites or to the integrated management of river basins.
    Natural disasters during 2002 led to creation of the European Union Solidarity Fund. Its aim is remedial: it helps disaster-hit regions repair/restore infrastructure and equipment. Regional development must involve the prevention of natural, technological and environmental hazards. Before launching a European strategy in this area, the Commission is encouraging the regions and the Member States to adopt natural hazard prevention measures at the time of their mid-term review of programmes. Some examples: geological or stabilisation studies, rural development measures centred on fire/flood prevention, improvement of maritime traffic surveillance, etc.
  • research and development

    In March 2002, the Barcelona European Council set the objective of raising investment in research to 3 % of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010. It called on the private sector to increase its share of such investment. In 2003, an innovation action plan was launched to achieve the Lisbon goals [COM(2003) 226 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    The mid-term review of programmes could be the occasion to extend innovative measures to regions not yet covered. Synergies are possible between the 6th Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development (FPRTD) and the Structural Funds.
  • information society

    The Seville European Council adopted the “eEurope 2005” action plan aimed at EU-wide access to a broad-band network and related Internet services. It is a matter of urgency to bridge the “digital divide” that is opening up between Europe’s regions. The Structural Funds can provide financial assistance to less-favoured regions and support the development of electronic communications, especially in fixed and wireless infrastructure.
    The Commission is encouraging the Member States to equip themselves with regional indicators and evaluation systems in the area of information and communications technologies (ICT). The guidelines on implementation of the Structural Funds in the electronic communications sector define these indicators.
  • enterprise policy

    A lack of innovation and of dissemination of ICT are a brake on competitiveness and entrepreneurial spirit in Europe. The Feira European Council of June 2000 adopted the European Charter for Small Enterprises, which calls on the public authorities to encourage small enterprises in ten key fields, including training, reform of the legal and administrative context and the dissemination of technological capacities.
    The Structural Funds programme review could contribute to improving industrial and regional competitiveness through support for the emergence of regional or local “clusters” and of innovative production networks, aid for the creation of technological platforms and the improvement of business support services.

Community policies whose legislative framework has evolved

The Community policies, the legislation for which has evolved since adoption of the 1999 indicative guidelines, are:

  • the common agricultural policy

    Adopted in June 2003, the mid-term review of the CAP enhances in particular the multipurpose role of agriculture through the allocation of extra funding to rural development. It aims to modernise agriculture by setting goals in the areas of the environment, product quality and food safety and to diversify the activities of rural areas.
    In the context of the mid-term review of programmes, Member States should look at the compatibility of their existing measures with the reformed CAP. For special attention: developments are under way in the area of State aids in the agricultural sector.
  • fisheries

    The December 2002 Copenhagen Council ratified the reform of the common fisheries policy. Three new Regulations entered force in January 2003. They relate to the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources, emergency Community measures for scrapping fishing vessels and Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector. The review of the programming of the Structural Funds will make resources available to cover structural measures in this sector. These measures are: a drop in aid for the replacement of fishing vessels, strict safety and quality conditions governing the modernisation of boats, aid for the temporary cessation of activities in the event of unforeseen circumstances, the retraining of fishermen and the diversification of their activities.
    The Commission also launched a Community action plan in order to mitigate the social, economic and regional impact of the restructuring of the fisheries sector [COM(2002) 600 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
  • energy

    The Structural Funds could help improve the share of renewable energies in electricity production (target: 22 % by 2010), to improving the energy performance of buildings (target: 20 % less energy consumption by 2010) and increased use of biofuels in transport (target: 5.75 % by 2010).
  • competition

    In carrying out the mid-term review, five measures should be taken into account: the modification of the guidelines on national regional aid in the outermost regions, State aid for environmental protection, for capital investment, for large investment projects and for employment.
  • research and development

    Objective 1 regions can benefit from additional Structural Funds support in line with the European provisions on State aid. Synergies are also possible with the 6th Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development (FPRTD) in such areas as infrastructure, cooperative and collective research for SMEs, regional forward studies and the mobility of research workers.

Community policies whose legal framework is undergoing modification

Two Community policies are currently in full development and will have repercussions on the programming of the Structural Funds:

  • the trans-European networks in the energy sector (TEN-E)

    The mid-term review should make it possible, within the context of the progressive opening up of the gas and electricity markets, to reorient Structural Funds assistance toward TEN-E priority projects.
    As of 2003 industrial customers will be free to choose their electricity suppliers. The same will apply to the gas sector as of 2004. In 2007, all consumers without exception will be free to choose their suppliers.
  • transport

    The White Paper on transport sets the following goals for 2010: to rebalance modes of transport, eliminate bottlenecks and improve the quality of transport for users..
    In preparation for enlargement, the Commission undertook a review of the guidelines for the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) leading to the definition of new priority projects [COM(2003) 564 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
    The Structural Funds will support this evolution of priorities and will support the link-up of regional networks with the trans-European networks. The following areas are due special attention: the accessibility of transport to all users, the safety of urban transport and the promotion of clean vehicles.

Improving the effectiveness of the implementation of structural measures

The mid-term review is an opportunity for simplifying the implementation of regional policy by integrating the results of the mid-way evaluation. The Commission envisages the following changes:

  • taking greater account of the “principle of proportionality” [C(2003) 1255 – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • reducing the size of programme documents so as to avoid overlaps with the accompanying programming complement;
  • stimulating public-private partnerships (PPP) in the area of TEN -T on the basis of experience gained with the Instrument for Structural policies for Pre-accession (ISPA) and the Cohesion Fund;
  • applying specific rules on the level of Community financing of public infrastructure projects receiving aid from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund or the ISPA.

The Commission will amend the programming documents only once to take account both of the mid-term review of programmes and the allocation of the performance reserve, a budget reserved for the programmes that perform the best, scheduled for the end of 2003. Whatever the nature of the changes, public financial commitments at national and Community levels must be maintained by every means possible.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme

Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme (2000-2006)

The PEACE II programme is designed to consolidate the peace process in Northern Ireland by channelling finance under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds in the 2000-06 period. Like its forerunner, PEACE I (1995-99), the programme seeks to encourage progress towards a peaceful, stable society and promote reconciliation in the region.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds [See amending acts].

Summary

In March 1999, the Berlin European Council decided that the special programme for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland should continue until 2004 (renamed PEACE II). In January 2005, this programme was extended until 2006 and more funding allocated to it.

The new Regulation stipulates that PEACE II is a programme under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds to provide support for Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland.

Its goal is to encourage progress towards a peaceful, stable society and promote reconciliation in the region.

Programme elements

PEACE II has two general strands:

  • economic and social development;
  • addressing the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland, as part of the region’s peace process.

Specific goals

The programme addresses the specific problems caused by the conflict in order to create a peaceful and stable society. It provides support for measures and action designed to achieve this end.

Priorities

PEACE II contains five economic and social priorities:

  • economic renewal (realising the economic opportunities generated by the peace process);
  • social integration, inclusion and reconciliation (with priority given to vulnerable groups in the areas worst affected by the conflict, interface areas and areas where community infrastructure is weak);
  • locally-based regeneration and development strategies;
  • promoting an outward and forward-looking region (by encouraging a dialogue with other EU regions on economic, social and environmental issues);
  • cross-border cooperation (economic, social and cultural).

Financing

For the 2000-06 period, total expenditure part-financed under PEACE II will be EUR 796 million. The Structural Fund contribution to this will be EUR 597 million, of which EUR 467 million in Northern Ireland (around 80% of the total) and EUR 130 million in the border counties of Ireland. Some 15% of the whole programme budget will be spent on cross-border projects.

The extension of PEACE II until 2006 has brought an extra EUR 144 million worth of funding for 2005-06.

The programme will draw on financing from the four Structural Funds in the 2000-06 period: 60% from the European Regional Development Fund, 32% from the European Social Fund, 7.5% from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and 0.5% from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance.

In total the EU will provide 75% of total public spending under the programme, with the remaining 25% provided by public and private sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Eligibility and management

The beneficiaries of the projects run under PEACE II come from the sectors, fields, groups and communities hardest hit by the conflict. What is more, projects are expected to prioritise a cross-community approach.

The programme is administered by the “Special EU Programmes Body”. This body is supervised by a monitoring committee whose members represent the different interest groups in Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland.

Most financing is administered by local partnerships and specialist non-governmental bodies in each sector. These structures also involve local councillors, union and employer representatives, the non-profit sector, representatives of the public interest and other groups with an interest in the local administration of the funds.

Background

Northern Ireland has been receiving financial support from the EU since the end of the 1980s, starting with the 1989-93 Community Support Framework for Northern Ireland.

The PEACE I programme (1995-99) was set up in July 1995. Between then and 1999 it part-financed EUR 692 million worth of expenditure under the Structural Funds.

Since 1989, the EU has also become one of the main contributors to the International Fund for Ireland. This Fund is an international organisation set up by an agreement between the governments of the UK and Ireland in 1986.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 29.06.1999 OJ L 161 of 26.6.1999
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1477/2001 01.01.2000 OJ L 198 of 21.07.2001
Regulation (EC) No 1105/2003 27.06.2003 OJ L 158 of 27.06.2003
Regulation (EC) No 173/2005 22.02.2005 OJ L 29 of 02.02.2005

Related Acts

PEACE I (1995-1999)

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 7 December 1994 – “Special programme for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland” [COM(94) 607 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/93 of 20 July 1993 amending Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 on the tasks of the Structural Funds and their effectiveness and on coordination of their activities between themselves and with the operations of the European Investment Bank and the other existing financial instruments [Official Journal L 193 of 31.07.1993].

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2082/93 of 20 July 1993 amending Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88 laying down provisions for implementing Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 as regards coordination of the activities of the different Structural Funds between themselves and with the operations of the European Investment Bank and the other existing financial instruments [Official Journal L 193 of 31.07.1993].

PEACE II (2000-2006)

Commission communication of 12 October 2006 “Report on the International Fund for Ireland pursuant to Article 5 of Council Regulation (EC) No” [COM(2006) 563 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 173/2005 of 24 January 2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds concerning the extension of the duration of the PEACE programme and the granting of new commitment appropriations [Official Journal L 29 of 02.02.2005].

EU contributions to the International Fund for Ireland:

Council Regulation (EC) No 1968/2006 of 21 December 2006 concerning Community financial contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (2007 to 2010) [Official Journal L 409 of 30.12.2006].

Council Regulation (EC) No 177/2005 of 24 January 2005 concerning Community financial contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (2005-06) [Official Journal L 30 of 03.02.2005].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2236/2002 of 10 December 2002 concerning Community financial contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (2003-2004) [Official Journal L 341 of 17.12.2002].

Council Regulation (EC) No 214/2000 of 24 January 2000 concerning Community financial contributions to the International Fund for Ireland [Official Journal L 24 of 29.01.2000].

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Guidelines for programmes in 2000-2006

This communication sets out the Commission guidelines to help Member States draft their programming documents for financial assistance from the Structural Funds and coordinate them with the Cohesion Fund for the 2000-06 period.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 1 July 1999 concerning the Structural Funds and their coordination with the Cohesion Fund: Guidelines for the programmes in the period 2000-2006 [COM(1999) 344 final – Official Journal C 267 of 22.09.1999].

Summary

The objective of the European Union’s structural and cohesion policies is to reduce economic and social disparities within the Community. These policies support national and regional policy in regions facing difficulties and on the labour market. While the Member States are responsible for setting their own development priorities, the Community lays down guidelines that they must take into account since the European Union, as part-financier of their programmes, has a right to examine assistance and wishes to promote the Community dimension of economic and social cohesion.

These general indicative guidelines are provided for by the Regulation laying down general rules on the Structural Funds and their purpose is to help the national and regional authorities define and prepare programming strategies under Objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the Structural Funds and their links with the Cohesion Fund. These development and conversion strategies will be “integrated” in the sense that they will pursue a coherent vision and create a decentralised, effective and broad partnership so as to involve the largest possible number of national, regional and local actors.

The following guidelines are based on three main priorities:

  • regional competitiveness;
  • economic and social cohesion;
  • the development of urban and rural areas (including specific measures for areas dependent on fisheries).

CONDITIONS FOR GROWTH AND EMPLOYMENT: REGIONAL COMPETITIVENESS

Creating the basic conditions for regional competitiveness

To achieve the objective of improved regional competitiveness, adequate all-round conditions and an environment conducive to developing entrepreneurial activity must be promoted in the regions. Firms must have access to a broad range of indirect support in conformity with Community competition rules in areas such as transport, energy, telecommunications, environmental technology and research, development and technological innovation. When assistance is granted to these sectors of activity, account must be taken of the trans-European networks, the operations of the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) must be coordinated and public/private partnerships encouraged.

Improving transport networks and systems

Transport networks and systems play a vital role in aid for economic development. This is why future regional development programmes must include investment in transport to mitigate factors undermining competitiveness (transport costs, saturation, long journey times) and increase the quality of infrastructure service (ancillary services, safety).

Programmes will have to take account of the following priorities to establish a balance between different modes of transport, accessibility and sustainability:

  • improving the effectiveness of transport systems by modernising and repairing infrastructure, fostering better management and encouraging measures to enhance interoperability;
  • seeking a balance between the different modes of transport by investing more in modes other than road transport, developing coherent intermodal and combined transport systems and creating transfer hubs;
  • improving access to the regions by connecting the main networks to local small-scale transport systems;
  • reducing the harmful effects of transport by complying with environmental protection rules.

In the eligible Member States, the Cohesion Fund will concentrate its transport operations on implementing the trans-European networks The ERDF, in coordination with the EIB where necessary, should focus more on regional accessibility, interoperability of infrastructure, creating transfer hubs and supporting urban and regional public transport systems.

Energy: networks, efficiency and renewable resources

Sustainable regional development requires an effective and competitive energy sector in order to increase the security, flexibility and quality of energy supplies and reduce their cost. In the less-developed regions, Structural Fund investments should cover:

  • providing efficient infrastructure for gas and electricity distribution to reduce dependence on external suppliers and the effects of isolation;
  • more effective use of energy by small and medium-sized firms, households and public buildings by means of technologies that will cut costs and consumption;
  • renewable energy resources which create local employment, reduce external dependence and bring down pollution (investment in this field should account for at least 12% of the overall budget of the energy sub-programmes).

Towards the information society

The rapid development of the information society is opening up new possibilities for economic development. However, access to the information society requires an efficient basic telecommunications infrastructure. Telecommunications operators will generally make investments in this field themselves, using their own resources, by borrowing and, if needed, in collaboration with the EIB. Where state aid nevertheless proves necessary, all assistance must comply with Community competition rules.

Information society measures included in the development programmes will aim:

  • to promote new services and innovative applications, particularly in electronic commerce, distance working and public services;
  • to equip and train potential users in order to increase their skill level.

For a highquality environment

Europe’s environment continues to face threats, primarily from water, air and soil pollution. Moreover, preventive measures are needed in natural areas exposed to disasters like flooding. Assistance from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should guarantee compliance with environmental standards laid down in the relevant European directives (e.g. the polluter-pays principle).

The following specific priorities have been set for the different sectors:

  • Water: guaranteeing supplies of adequate quality and quantity and collecting, treating and disposing of urban waste water (disposal points, sludge elimination);
  • Waste management: the compulsory waste management plans covering the entire territory of a Member State must improve the management and disposal of solid urban, industrial and hazardous waste and encourage the safe and definitive recycling, re-use or disposal of waste.

Research, technological development and innovation (RTD)

Structural assistance must give an increasing priority to promoting RTD and innovation activities because of their impact on regional dynamism and the partnership they create between public sector, businesses, higher and further education and business support organisations.

Priority will be given to investment in RTD activities in the following fields:

  • promoting innovation through the use, in particular, of new forms of financing such as venture capital in order to broaden the range of targeted activities and encourage start-ups, spin-offs and specialised services to firms;
  • industrial networking and cooperation to foster technology transfer and the creation of industrial and commercial clusters;
  • developing of human resources by encouraging interaction between firms, higher education/research institutes, lifelong learning and the continuous upgrading of skills and abilities.

Competitive firms that stimulate job creation

Competitive firms help create employment and contribute to regional economic development. The services sector is an expanding source of jobs which must be taken into account in Community programmes. The financial assistance and other benefits granted to firms must comply with Community rules.

Support for firms: priority to SMEs

Without neglecting large firms, structural assistance to stimulate the productive sector must focus rather on small and medium-sized enterprises, in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • shifting the traditional emphasis from capital grants towards alternative financing mechanisms such as repayable advances, venture capital, loan capital, revolving funds and mutual guarantee schemes;
  • improving the quality and organisational aspects of assistance by targeting the specific needs of SMEs, improving access to business support services, training and information, improving the specialised skills of staff, setting up networks and exchanging experiences;
  • involving the private sector in defining strategies through partnership.

Business support services

Business support services not only enable firms to increase their competitiveness and move into new markets but also represent an important source of jobs (10% of total employment in the European Union). Structural Fund assistance to these services should improve support for technology transfer, internationalisation, organisational and management innovation, and the creation of financial tools (seed capital, mutual guarantee companies).

The priorities in this field are as follows:

  • identifying the needs of firms in order better to meet their requirements;
  • exploiting the synergies between service centres, technology transfer centres, science parks, universities and research centres, in particular by disseminating best practice;
  • strengthening international cooperation between firms;
  • improving the geographical distribution of the supply of business services.

Three areas with particular potential

Environment, tourism and culture and the social economy are sectors with high job-creation potential which remains under-exploited:

  • Environment: Structural Fund assistance must give priority to investments which follow a preventive approach to environmental hazards, use clean technologies and sound management and encourage the restoration of derelict industrial sites and training;
  • Tourism and culture: since these two sectors are closely associated and rich in job-creation potential, Structural Fund assistance must seek to modernise infrastructure, improve workers’ skills by training them to exploit the possibilities offered by the new information technologies, promote public/private partnerships and safeguard local heritage and identity;
  • Social economy: there are many different types of organisations active in the social economy (cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations, firms), all working in wide variety of fields (competitive markets, health services, neighbourhood services, sports activities, entertainment, youth employment and combating social exclusion). They account for some 5% of total employment in the European Union. Priority assistance in this sector should be given to active support for the creation and development of service suppliers, by means of information, training, advice, financial and technical assistance and support to ensure the longer-term survival of newly-created activities.

THE EUROPEAN EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY: A KEY PRIORITY FOR THE COMMUNITY

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the chief financial instrument working to improve the skills and adaptability of human resources. The priorities set out below apply throughout the territory of the European Union, although specific regional features are also taken into account. The Commission is proposing that Objective 3 of the Structural Funds, which supports the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment, should act, firstly, as a frame of reference for all human resource measures throughout each Member State and, secondly, as a programming instrument through which the European Social Fund will provide financial assistance throughout the Community.

Frame of reference for human resource development

The European Social Fund is the main financial instrument at European Union level for helping the Member States to implement the employment guidelines under the European employment strategy. Coherence between the strategy in the national plans and the priorities of the European Social Fund in this area is clearly crucial.

In the activities of the European Social Fund, three aspects are of particular importance:

  • mainstreaming equal opportunities between men and women;
  • harnessing the employment potential of the information society
  • promoting local development through the territorial employment pacts.

Active labour market policies to promote employment

The Member States will have to show how they translate the active or preventive strategies recommended in the employment guidelines into specific measures. The first step is to identify the individuals at risk. The planned measures will include diagnostic interviews, training, career counselling and job search assistance, and must enable the unemployed to get training and young people to demonstrate their employability, in particular through apprenticeships. The unemployed and young people must also be helped to adapt to technological and economic change.

Local and regional employment services have a key role to play in adapting human resources to structural change, by auditing the skills available and the levels of young people’s professional qualifications, as well as training and re-skilling needs. They will then be in a position to adapt the provision of training to the needs of local and regional firms.

An inclusive society, open to all

A labour market open to all is a priority for Member States in the European employment strategy. When designing preventive and active policies, close attention must be paid to the needs of the disabled, the ethnic minorities and other categories of the population who may be at a disadvantage.

Promoting employability, skills and mobility through lifelong learning

To develop a skilled workforce, it is crucial to improve the quality of education and training, so education and training systems must have more resources, with absolute priority being given to young people with learning difficulties. Opportunities for lifelong learning, particularly in the fields of information and communication technologies, should also be improved.

Developing capacity for change and entrepreneurial spirit

In collaboration with the social partners, the Member States will endeavour to modernise work organisation and forms of work and enable the workforce to adapt better to economic change. Two major prerequisites for achieving this objective are supporting entrepreneurship and expanding training opportunities.

In regions undergoing structural conversion, synergy will have to be sought between measures aiming at integration, professional training and re-skilling and activities supporting economic development and conversion.

In order to promote entrepreneurship, a combination of demand-side measures (support for creating new activity) and supply-side measures (targeted information, training and tutoring) should be implemented.

Particular attention to women

After analysing the disparities between men and women, targets should be set to correct imbalances, together with indicators to monitor the implementation of programmes. The objective of balanced participation of men and of women at all levels of society can be achieved by measures to improve professional career profiles, give women greater access to responsible jobs and foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

Specific measures in Objective 1 and 2 regions

The local authorities play a growing role in implementing the employment guidelines within their own sphere of competence. There is therefore room for the regions to take a high profile in implementing the guidelines, this should be reflected in the regional programmes for Objectives 1 and 2.

The main features of such programming will be:

  • a “bottom-up” approach based on a local and regional evaluation of needs;
  • in the context of structural conversion, training geared to keeping pace with the changing requirements of local and regional firms;
  • an innovative approach to developing new activities, products and methods.

URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO BALANCED TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT

Harmonious territorial development is taking place against a background of greater economic and monetary integration, increasingly global markets and the integrated approach of Structural Fund assistance. In addition, the guidelines on the long-term development of the European territory (European Spatial Development Perspective, or ESDP) are designed to encourage the emergence of multiple zones of economic integration more evenly distributed across the Union, and progressive evolution towards a multi-centred European area.

Urban development within an integrated regional policy

Urban areas play a vital role in the European economy. Medium-sized towns in particular exert a powerful influence on rural areas. Integrated strategies for development and conversion should have four main aims:

  • greater prosperity and increased employment in urban areas;
  • support for social integration;
  • protection of the environment, urban ecosystems and public health;
  • a drive toward better urban and local management (transport, energy, living conditions).

Programming documents for Objective 1 and 2 regions should include urban development measures that embody these objectives. The restoration of disadvantaged urban areas could receive special integrated support similar to that developed by the Urban II Community Initiative. Measures supported by the European Social Fund under Objective 3 should have a major impact in terms of economic and social cohesion even in areas not covered by Objectives 1 and 2.

Rural development for modernisation, diversification and environmental protection

Many rural areas are experiencing problems caused by structural changes such as the shrinking job market in the agricultural sector (nowadays about three-quarters of Europe’s farmers work part-time and need additional sources of income).

The multi-functional role of agriculture is increasingly recognised. Indeed, the function of farming, forestry and other productive activities is not only economic but also social (the provision of quality products and the supply of leisure opportunities to town dwellers), environmental (protection of the landscape and ecosystems) and cultural (heritage and identity). As the second pillar of the common agricultural policy (CAP), rural development serves to ensure the sustainability of the European model of agriculture.

In the areas eligible under Objectives 1 and 2, the Structural Funds and the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) should support the diversification of a rural economic structure based on encouraging new activities, giving priority to:

  • strengthening the competitiveness of agriculture by granting aid for investments for modernisation, cost-cutting, improved product quality and the maintenance of farms;
  • enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of rural areas by making them more accessible and helping them diversify towards new activities (tourism), supporting SMEs and innovative sectors like renewable energy sources;
  • safeguarding the environment and European rural heritage by protecting the landscape, natural resources and traditional rural areas and promoting farm tourism and the renovation of villages.

The new Leader+ Initiative for rural development will provide additional structural assistance with a view to finding all-round solutions to the problems facing rural areas and helping to define new models of rural development, in particular by networking and cooperation between local actors.

Synergies between urban and rural areas

If the Union is to enjoy the best possible conditions for development, progress in towns and rural areas must be complementary. Exploiting synergies could result in a multi-centred and hence more balanced territorial development of the Community. Moreover, developing the role of medium-sized urban centres is of special importance in thinly populated areas.

The regions covered by Objectives 1 and 2 are of a size which provides an adequate framework for an overall approach in which urban and rural areas are complementary, as they need to be. An integrated approach to programming should help create areas of dynamic integration on an international scale, mainly through highly effective trans-national, national and regional infrastructure. The Interreg III Initiative should supplement this mechanism by supporting trans-European cooperation, particularly across borders.

Specific measures for areas dependent on fisheries

Structural policy in the fisheries sector (including aquaculture and the processing and marketing of products) is a vital component of the common fisheries policy. It seeks to provide a response to the socio-economic difficulties of coastal areas by steering and speeding up restructuring of the sector through rationalisation and modernisation of production.

Programmes will give priority to:

  • the guidelines contained in the multi-annual guidance programmes (MGP IV until 2001 and MGP V thereafter) as the basic frame of reference;
  • avoiding possible undesirable effects caused by assistance or lack of it (ageing of the fleet, exhaustion of fishery resources);
  • greater selectivity of fishing gear and methods;
  • improving product quality, working conditions and safety.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 12 March 2003, “Further indicative guidelines for the candidate countries” [COM(2003) 110 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This communication seeks to lay down a set of additional strategic guidelines for the candidate countries to help them with their first attempt to devise a structural funding programme.

In view of the particular situation of the regions in the ten new Member States, the Commission has decided to simply publish a set of additional indicative guidelines. For these countries, the first programming period will be very short, covering at most 2004-2006, as opposed to the seven years enjoyed by existing Member States. Thus, as a first stage of a development strategy, the goal of these countries should not be to tackle and solve all their problems within these three years but rather to establish clear priorities so funding can be concentrated on their most pressing needs.

Furthermore, despite substantial progress, the new Member States still have only limited capacity as regards administration, programming, management and monitoring. Adhering to Community rules, particularly as regards public procurement and the environment, still poses enormous difficulties.

Virtually all regions in the ten Member States are on the list of the 25% of regions with the lowest per-capita GDP. The main challenge is thus to promote the growth-enhancing conditions and factors that will help them all enjoy substantial real progress towards convergence with the EU average, and to ensure the strategy focuses on developing the type of investment likely to increase competitiveness while paving the way for greater job creation and sustainable development.

Meeting the challenge of the first programming in 2004-06 in the new Member States therefore depends on three vital conditions:

  • anticipation – wherever possible, preparing and negotiating the programming documents with the Commission before accession to give as long an implementing period as possible;
  • a quest for simplification – this has seen the Commission and Member States calling on the new countries to take a realistic, pragmatic approach to the implementation of structural funding in their initial programming period.
  • limiting the number of projects, priorities and measures – by making hard choices to target structural funding on the areas it is most needed. This should make the financial management of future programmes easier and allow a more flexible response to problems of funding take-up which may be experienced by certain measures.

Objective 1

Objective 1

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Objective 1

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

Objective 1

The main goal of regional policy in the European Union is economic and social cohesion. This is based on financial solidarity, whereby more than 35 % of the Union’s budget is transferred to the less-favoured regions (EUR 213 billion in 2000-06). Those regions in the Union lagging behind in their development, undergoing restructuring or facing specific geographical, economic or social problems are to be put in a better position to cope with their difficulties and to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.

The amount of support that regions receive through the EU’s regional policy depends on their level of development and the type of difficulties they are facing. The Structural Fund regulations for 2000-06 provide, in particular, for three priority objectives:

  • Objective 1: to promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind;
  • Objective 2: to support the economic and social conversion of areas experiencing structural difficulties;
  • Objective 3: to support the adaptation and modernisation of education, training and employment policies and systems in regions not eligible under Objective 1.

This information sheet concerns Objective 1 only. The other Objectives are the subject of separate sheets.

GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY

Objective 1 is “regionalised”, meaning that it applies to designated NUTS level II areas in the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics developed by Eurostat. Of these geographical areas, only those with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) lower than 75 % of the Community average are eligible under Objective 1.

Objective 1 also covers specific categories of regions:

  • the seven “most remote regions”, whose position is unique within the Union due to their remoteness from the European continent and their modest demographic and economic importance. These regions are the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, French Guiana, the Azores and Madeira.
  • the areas in Sweden and Finland eligible under the former Objective 6 during 1994-99, which specifically assisted regions with a very low population density. The areas concerned are in the regions of North-Central Sweden, Central Norrland and Upper Norrland in Sweden, and North, Central and East Finland.
  • Northern Ireland receives special Community assistance to promote reconciliation between the communities and the emergence of a stable and peaceful society. First set up as a Community Initiative in 1994-99, the Peace II operational programme (2000-04) is now an integral part of Objective 1 and receives financial assistance worth EUR 500 million.

In all, some 60 regions in 13 Member States are eligible under Objective 1 for 2000-06. There is also transitional support for regions which were eligible under Objective 1 in 1994-99 but are no longer eligible in 2000-06. Commission Decision 1999/502/EC of 1 July 1999 [OJ L194, 27.07.1999] lays down the list of eligible regions, valid for seven years from 1 January 2000.

Member State Regions eligible under Objective 1 or receiving transitional support
Germany Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia; transitional support: East Berlin
Austria Burgenland
Belgium Transitional support: Hainault
Spain Galicia, Asturias, Castile-Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Extramadura, Valencia, Andalusia, Murcia, Ceuta-Melilla, the Canary Islands; transitional support: Cantabria
Finland East Finland, (part of) Central Finland, (part of) North Finland
France Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion; transitional support: Corsica and the districts of Valenciennes, Douai and Avesnes
Greece East Macedonia, Thrace, Central Macedonia, West Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Ionian Islands, Western Greece, Continental Greece, Peloponnese, Attica, North Aegean, South Aegean, Crete (i.e. the entire country)
Ireland Border, Midlands and Western; transitional support: Southern, Eastern
Italy Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia
transitional support: Molise
Netherlands Transitional support: Flevoland
Portugal North, Centre, Alentejo, Algarve, Azores, Madeira;
transitional support: Lisbon and Tagus valley
United Kingdom South Yorkshire, West Wales & the Valleys, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Merseyside; transitional support: Northern Ireland, Highlands and Islands
Sweden (Parts of) North-Central Sweden, (parts of) Central Norrland, (parts of) Upper Norrland

PROGRAMMING DOCUMENTS

Programming is an essential part of implementing EU regional policy. The first stage is for the Member States to present regional development plans. These include a precise description of the economic and social situation of the country by region, a description of the most appropriate strategy for achieving the stated development objectives and indications on the use and form of the financial contribution from the Structural Funds.

The Member States submit programming documents to the Commission, following its general guidelines. In the case of Objective 1, these programming documents generally take the form of:

  • Community support frameworks (CSFs) translated into Operational Programmes (OPs). CSFs and OPs are the programming documents recommended for Objective 1. They describe the socio-economic context of the country or regions concerned and set out the development priorities and goals to be achieved. They also lay down the arrangements for financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control. The OPs detail the various priorities of the CSF for a given region or development priority, such as transport, training, business support, etc.
    For Objective 1, Germany, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) have all opted to draw up a CSF and OPs.
    You can consult the CSFs and OPs of the regions eligible under Objective 1 or receiving transitional support on the Inforegio site of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy.
  • Single programming documents (SPDs). For the purposes of Objective 1, SPDs are used to programme spending of less than 1 billion. SPDs are single documents gathering together the data contained in a Community support framework and operational programme: the programme’s priorities, a short description of the proposed measures and an indicative financing plan.
    Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden have opted for this formula for Objective 1.
    You can consult the SPDs of the regions eligible under Objective 1 and receiving transitional support on the Inforegio site of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy.

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Funding

213 billion will be available to finance structural assistance in the European Union in 2000-06. Of that amount, 195 billion are allocated to the Structural Funds. Since assistance must be concentrated on the regions with the greatest difficulties, Objective 1 has the largest allocation, accounting for approximately 70 % of Structural Fund appropriations, i.e. 137 billion over seven years.

All the Structural Funds (the ERDF, the ESF, the EAGGF Guidance Section and the FIFG) contribute to financing Objective 1.

The allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations for Objective 1 of the Structural Funds and transitional support is set out in Commission Decision 1999/501/EC [Official Journal L194 of 27.7.1999]. The allocation is as follows:

Member State Objective 1
(in million)
Transitional support
(in million)
Germany 19 229 729
Austria 261 0
Belgium 0 625
Spain 37 744 352
Finland 913 0
France 3 254 551
Greece 20 961 0
Ireland 1 315 1 773
Italy 21 935 187
Netherlands 0 123
Portugal 16 124 2 905
United Kingdom 5 085 1 166
Sweden 722 0

Contribution of the Funds

As a rule, the contribution of the Structural Funds under Objective 1 is subject to the following ceilings: no more than 75 % of the total eligible volume and, as a general rule, at least 50 % of eligible public expenditure. The rate can be increased to 80 % for regions situated in a Member State eligible for assistance from the Cohesion Fund (Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal). Council Regulation (EC) No 1447/2001 [OJ L198 of 21.7.2001] sets this ceiling even higher, at 85 %, for all the most remote regions and the smaller Greek islands in the Aegean.

In the case of investment in firms, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the ceilings on the rate of aid and on combinations of aid set in the field of state aids.

In cases where assistance involves financing investments that will generate income (such as bridges or toll motorways), the contribution of the Funds is determined in the light of the expected revenue. Under Objective 1, the contribution of the Funds is subject to the following ceilings:

  • In the case of investments in infrastructure generating substantial income, assistance may not exceed 40 % of the eligible total volume, increased by a further 10 % in the Member States eligible for assistance from the Cohesion Fund. These rates can be supplemented by forms of financing other than direct aid for up to 10 % of the total eligible total.
  • Contributions to investments in businesses may not exceed 35 % of the total eligible volume (50 % in the most remote regions and the smaller islands of the Aegean). In the case of investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), these rates can be increased by up to 10 % of the eligible total volume for indirect forms of financing.

Results of programming under Objective 1 for 2000-06

The results of programming under Objective 1 for 2000-06 are set out in the communication COM(2001) 378 final [not published in the Official Journal]. These results shed light on the following points:

  • Disparities between the eligible regions and the rest of the European Union remain considerable despite the progress achieved over the previous period, as described in the Second Report on economic and social cohesion. Assistance should enable the economies concerned to continue to catch up.
  • The indicative guidelines adopted by the Commission in July 1999 provided a useful basis on which to negotiate the plans and programmes with the Member States. There has been a greater effort to concentrate assistance on the four priority areas in the Objective 1 regions: infrastructure, research and innovation, the information society and the development of human resources.
  • The effectiveness of assistance is closely dependent on compliance with the rules on implementing and managing the programmes. The Member States in partnership with the Commission have made considerable progress in setting up systems for more rigorous monitoring, surveillance and evaluation.
  • The chief difficulties were: 1) the five-month period allowed for negotiating programming documents proved to be too short (average time taken estimated at eight months), and 2) the programming complement has sometimes been regarded as a separate phase of programming although its role is to clarify the content of the programme priorities.

Economic impact of assistance under Objective 1 in 2000-06

The Directorate-General for Regional Policy has produced a new study (pdf ) on the economic impact of the Structural Funds in the main areas eligible under Objective 1 (Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the Mezzogiorno in Italy and the east German Länder) for 2000-06. The main results of this analysis are as follows:

  • the Objective 1 programmes appear to have a significant impact on the level of GDP and fixed capital formation.
    Total GDP appears to be 3.5 % higher in Portugal and 2.4 % higher in Greece than it would be without EU assistance. This increase is 1.7 % in the Mezzogiorno and 1.6 % in the east German Länder.
  • Over the whole period and for all the regions covered by the study, almost 700 000 jobs are benefiting from Community support.
  • Community contributions should bring about additional annual growth in the GDP of just over 0.4 % in Portugal and just under 0.4 % in Greece.
  • A large share of transfers would appear to leave the beneficiary areas (leakage effect) as equipment, goods and services are brought in from outside.
    On average, for every 4 spent under Objective 1, more than 1 is spent on imports from other Member States, and 9 % of such imports come from non-member countries.
  • The Objective 1 programmes should help the economies of the six more backward regions covered by the study to catch up and restructure.
    Industrial production should increase in absolute terms, with the GDP share of agriculture and the processing of agricultural products falling and the share of services increasing.

Related Acts

Proposal of 14 July 2004 for a Council Regulation establishing a Cohesion Fund [COM(2004) 494 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
As part of the reform of regional policy, in July 2004 the Commission presented a package of proposals for the Structural Funds (ERDF and ESF) and the Cohesion Fund. The basic reference document containing the general provisions for these proposals sets a total budget of EUR 62.99 billion for the Cohesion Fund, accounting for 23.86 % of the total budget of EUR 264 billion for the “Convergence” objective, which replaces the former Objective 1. The Cohesion Fund will finance up to 85 % of public spending on projects under this new objective.