At the initiative of Anita Gradin, Commissioner responsible for Financial Control, the European Commission has adopted a proposal which aims to clarify which types of expenditure can be part-financed from the Structural Funds budget of the European Union (EU). The decision, adopted within the framework of SEM 2000 (Programme for Sound and Efficient Financial Management), includes detailed guidelines on a number of areas which have proved to be the most problematic when deciding whether an expenditure item is eligible for financing. Uncertainty has now been removed since both the Commission and the Member States agree on these guidelines. "The decision is a major step towards better EU financial management", said Commissioner Anita Gradin, commenting on the adoption. "The lack of clear financial guidelines for Structural Fund financing has been a major cause of concern for both the Commission and the Member States. The Commission has now prepared and decided on guidelines for more than 20 problematic areas, such as purchase of land and real estate, financial and banking charges, leasing and legality of commitments at Member State level". The decision will take effect from 1 May 1997 and will then be legally binding in all Member States.