Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Official Journal Reference

L 210/25 of 2006-07-31

Legislative Reference

(EC) No 1083/2006 of 2006-07-11
To deliver more investment, growth and jobs and social inclusion at national and regional level by increasing and improving the quality of investment and accessibility to funds.

Abstract

The initiatives for the Cohesion Policy were presented by the Commission and the Banks at the Ministerial meeting of 11 October 2005, as well as at the November 2005 conference of the Commission and the international financial institutions with the regions and the social partners, on ‘Financing growth and cohesion in the enlarged European Union’.

The launching took the form of the signing of three memoranda of understanding between the institutions involved:
- JASPERS (Joint assistance in supporting projects in European Regions) which will help to prepare large infrastructure projects;
- JEREMIE (Joint European resources for micro to medium enterprises) which will improve access to finance for micro- and medium-sized enterprises;
- JESSICA (Joint European support for sustainable investment in city areas) which aims to provide solutions to the financing of projects for urban renewal and development using a combination of grants and loans.

The action taken by the Community under Article 158 of the Treaty will be designed to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the enlarged European Union in order to promote the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of the Community. This action will be taken with the aid of the Funds, the European Investment Bank and other existing financial instruments, as described above, namely, JASPERS, JEREMIE AND JESSICA. It will be aimed at reducing the economic, social and territorial disparities which have arisen, particularly in countries and regions where development is lagging behind and in connection with economic and social restructuring and the ageing of the population.

To this end, the Cohesion Fund and other financial instruments shall each contribute in an appropriate way towards achieving the following three objectives:

- The convergence objective, which will be aimed at speeding up the convergence of the least developed Member States and regions by improving conditions for growth and employment through the increasing and improvement of the quality of investment in human capital, innovation and the promotion of the knowledge society, adaptability to economic and social changes, the protection and improvement of the environment and administrative efficiency.

- The Regional competitiveness and employment objective which, outside the least developed regions, shall be aimed at strengthening regional competitiveness and attractiveness as well as employment by anticipating economic and social changes.

- The European territorial cooperation objective, which shall be aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation through joint local and regional activities. This will improve transnational and interregional cooperation and exchange of experience at the appropriate level.

This enhanced involvement of the international financial institutions and the European financial sector will contribute additional financial and technical expertise, energy and human resources for more and better projects, more and better investments in undertaking, as well as in public-private partnerships and projects for sustainable urban development. Furthermore, it will leverage additional loan capital from the international financial institutions, as well as private capital from European banks and investors, to complement scarce public resources, European and national, for more investments, growth and jobs.

- Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999
- Commission Regulation setting out implementing rules for the Structural and Cohesion Funds: the “last piece of the puzzle"(MEMO/06/472).

Implementation

The Regulation sets out rules for the implementation of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the Cohesion Fund, namely simplification, increased decentralisation, proportionality and transparency.

Simplification is shown, for example, in the fact that the Regulation will replace nine Commission Regulations in the previous period which contained different rules applicable to the Cohesion Fund and the Structural Fund. One set of rules will now apply to the two funds, for example, concerning information requirements, audit and use of the euro.

Increased decentralisation means that eligibility rules are not fixed at Community level for most operational programmes but national rules will be applicable.

Increased proportionality is shown particularly in the area of auditing where certain requirements on audit verifications can be carried out by national bodies according to national rules.

Transparency will be implemented in that the contribution of Structural and Cohesion Funds will be more transparent to the general public. Article 7(2)(d) of the Regulation requires managing authorities to publish information on the beneficiaries and operations being financed.

The Commission Regulation setting out implementing rules for the Structural and Cohesion Funds adopts rules based on the following points, as expressly provided for in the Council regulations:

- Information and communication (including transparency measures). This is to ensure that citizens and potential beneficiaries of the funds in all Member States have the same access to information on funding from the Community budget for cohesion policy;

- Information on use of the funds at national level;

- Allows Member States to report to the Commission in a uniform way on the use and on allocation of the funds to Lisbon Strategy priorities;

- Implements management and control systems, building on the existing systems to avoid Member States changing what was in place for the previous operational programme. In addition, the Regulation contains a full range of instruments that are necessary for the Commission to be able to guarantee that Community funds are spent well and properly. These range from interruption of payments to suspension of payments to the carrying out of financial corrections, whereby funds used irregularly are repaid into the Community budget;

- Handling of irregularities;

- Protection of personal data;

- Community funding is to complement rather than replace national funding;

- Implementation of rules on the electronic exchange of data (mandatory for the first time). There will be a standardisation of forms that are submitted in electronic form only. These forms are for the purposes of programming the use of funds, certification of expenditure, monitoring and reporting and application forms for projects;

- Eligibility of expenditure on housing laying down the criteria for identifying the areas where housing can be eligible;

- Community rules of eligibility only to operational programmes for the ‘European territorial cooperation’ objective, where several Member States cooperate in a single programme.

The report of the Commission referred to in Article 159 of the Treaty shall include in particular:
- a record of the progress made on economic and social cohesion, including the socio-economic situation and development of the regions, as well as the integration of Community priorities;
- a record of the role of the Funds, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the other financial instruments, as well as the effect of other Community and national policies on the progress made.

The report shall also contain, if necessary:
- any proposals on Community measures and policies which should be adopted in order to strengthen economic and social cohesion;
- any proposed adjustments to the Community strategic guidelines on cohesion needed to reflect changes in Community policy.
Record Number: 878 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05