Answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission
The Commission would recall that the current EU Culture Programme is accessible to small organisations, as will be its proposed successor ‘Creative Europe’. The Commission's report of 10 January 2011 on the interim evaluation of the programme shows that it is predominantly used by small and medium-sized organisations: 55 % of the organisations receiving cooperation support have less than 11 employees, and this share increases to 63 % for publishing houses who have benefitted from literary translation grants.
The interim evaluation also showed that beneficiaries are generally satisfied with the simplifications which have been made since 2007. These include a Programme Guide providing stable information and deadlines, online application forms and the use of lump sums. The selection process has also been shortened by a more optimal use of the comitology procedure (as reported by the Commission to the European Parliament by letter of 30 July 2010). The average time gain for project selections in 2009 was 54.5 days when compared to 2008 and 117 days over 2007.
Creative Europe will introduce further simplifications, such as greater use of flat rates, grant decisions and framework partnership agreements. The number of calls for proposals under the Culture Strand will be reduced from nine to four.
For cohesion policy, the Commission has proposed arrangements relevant for small beneficiaries e.g. extension in the use of simplified costs. The Commission also seeks to limit the audit and reporting burden of small beneficiaries.