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Evaluating cohesion policy for better efficiency

30-09-2016

The principles guiding cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 period include efficiency and a results-oriented approach. Evaluation is an important tool for assessing the impact of cohesion policy programmes and the contribution of funding to EU objectives, evidencing the performance of policies with concrete data. It can also translate into better efficiency, improved implementation and more effective policy design. However, evaluation also encounters challenges related to resources and administrative ...

The principles guiding cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 period include efficiency and a results-oriented approach. Evaluation is an important tool for assessing the impact of cohesion policy programmes and the contribution of funding to EU objectives, evidencing the performance of policies with concrete data. It can also translate into better efficiency, improved implementation and more effective policy design. However, evaluation also encounters challenges related to resources and administrative capacities, political pressures, the availability of data and the limitations of evaluation methods. The regulations on the European Structural and Investment Funds lay down a variety of reporting requirements, evaluation procedures and indicators to be monitored. Evaluations are carried out at the ex-ante, interim and ex-post stages, applying various quantitative and qualitative methods. Member States and the European Commission prepare reports at various points in the programming period using the findings obtained in the process of evaluating themes, programmes and projects. Ex-post evaluations for the 2007-2013 programming period are still under way, with a number of preliminary findings already available. The first implementation reports for the current 2014-2020 period were released in May this year, while a summary report from the European Commission is expected by the end of 2016.

Research for REGI Committee - Simplified Cost Options in Practice

15-06-2016

This study reviews experience with the application of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs), primarily under the European Regional Development Fund, in the programming periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. The focus is on the achievement of the immediate and wider objectives of the SCOs, notably the reduction of administrative burden/cost and the refocussing of resources from financial reporting and control to the implementation and achievement of policy objectives. The study presents the first evidence that ...

This study reviews experience with the application of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs), primarily under the European Regional Development Fund, in the programming periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. The focus is on the achievement of the immediate and wider objectives of the SCOs, notably the reduction of administrative burden/cost and the refocussing of resources from financial reporting and control to the implementation and achievement of policy objectives. The study presents the first evidence that the uptake of SCOs, owing to the improved regulatory framework and to enhanced guidance, has increased in the 2014-2020 programming period and that the SCOs are achieving their intended objectives.

Údar seachtarach

Mike Beke, Roland Blomeyer, Nicolò Franceschelli, Elsa Perreau and Antonio Sanz

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

06-06-2016

Encompassing regions from Member States as well as third countries confronted with a common set of challenges, macro-regions are often defined on the basis of geographical features. Whether inspired by a sense of regional identity, a desire to engage in closer cooperation or to pool resources, all macro-regional strategies share a common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues best tackled jointly. While diverse in many ways, the countries bordering the Baltic are characterised by a high ...

Encompassing regions from Member States as well as third countries confronted with a common set of challenges, macro-regions are often defined on the basis of geographical features. Whether inspired by a sense of regional identity, a desire to engage in closer cooperation or to pool resources, all macro-regional strategies share a common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues best tackled jointly. While diverse in many ways, the countries bordering the Baltic are characterised by a high degree of interdependence, with a tradition of cooperation dating back to the Hanseatic period. This shared identity was cemented further through the EU accession of the Baltic States and Poland in 2004, increasing to eight the number of EU Member States in the Baltic region (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland). Yet despite the introduction of common EU rules and policies, opening up new prospects for improving growth and living standards through closer coordination, persistent differences have remained between the prosperous northern and western seaboards of the Baltic and its less developed southern and eastern countries. Concerns over the deteriorating state of the Sea itself, and a sense that the region had failed to make best use of the opportunities of EU membership led to calls for action and the development of a dedicated strategy for the Baltic region in 2009. Originally initiated by the European Parliament, the Strategy covers the eight EU Member States of the Baltic and also involves cooperation with the neighbouring countries of Russia, Belarus, Norway and Iceland. It has been designed to be adapted to changing circumstances, and revisions of its Action Plan have streamlined its structure and given more responsibility to Member States. A number of key challenges remain, however, not least its complex governance, a lack of political engagement, low knowledge about the Strategy and mixed results in integrating it into 2014-2020 operational programmes, a key potential source of funding.

Research for REGI Committee - Economic, Social and Territorial Situation in Croatia

16-05-2016

This in-depth analysis was written upon request of the Committee on Regional Development, and it is an update of a similar document that was completed in November 2015. The aim is to inform Members about the political, socio-economic and administrative system of Croatia, in particular Šibenik-Knin and Karlovac Counties and the City of Zagreb. The analysis also provides an overview of cohesion policy in Croatia, including the arrangements in place for the 2014-2020 programming period and the European ...

This in-depth analysis was written upon request of the Committee on Regional Development, and it is an update of a similar document that was completed in November 2015. The aim is to inform Members about the political, socio-economic and administrative system of Croatia, in particular Šibenik-Knin and Karlovac Counties and the City of Zagreb. The analysis also provides an overview of cohesion policy in Croatia, including the arrangements in place for the 2014-2020 programming period and the European Territorial Cooperation programmes.

Research for REGI Committee - Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs

15-02-2016

Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the economies of EU regions, both in terms of employment and competitiveness . In 2014, SMEs employed almost 90 million people and it has been estimated that for every km2 of land surface the EU has an average of 5 SMEs. Almost all SMEs (93%) are micro enterprises and employ less than 10 people and the majority of SMEs are active in the five following sectors: ‘wholesale and retail trade’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘construction’, ‘business services ...

Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the economies of EU regions, both in terms of employment and competitiveness . In 2014, SMEs employed almost 90 million people and it has been estimated that for every km2 of land surface the EU has an average of 5 SMEs. Almost all SMEs (93%) are micro enterprises and employ less than 10 people and the majority of SMEs are active in the five following sectors: ‘wholesale and retail trade’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘construction’, ‘business services’ and ‘accommodation and food services’. For the 2014-2020 period the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) support investments in SMEs through all thematic objectives, particularly through Thematic Objective 3 (TO3) on enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs, of the agricultural sector (for the EAFRD) and of the fishery and aquaculture sector (for the EMFF). In order to first evaluate the main challenges of the implementation of TO3, the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development (EP REGI) requested the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies to draw up this briefing in support of the ongoing implementation report on "Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs" (Rapporteur: Rosa D'Amato).

Financial Instruments under Cohesion Policy 2007-13: How Have Member States and Selected Financial Institutions Respected and Preserved EU Financial Interests?

04-02-2016

This study assesses the implementation of financial instruments (FIs) in Cohesion policy during the 2007-13 programming period. It takes stock of existing knowledge on the operation of FIs as reflected in the academic literature and policy documents. A comparative analysis of eight case studies, focusing on the different stages in the lifecycle of FIs, provides the basis on which to draw lessons from the implementation of FIs in 200713, highlighting implications for 2014-20.

This study assesses the implementation of financial instruments (FIs) in Cohesion policy during the 2007-13 programming period. It takes stock of existing knowledge on the operation of FIs as reflected in the academic literature and policy documents. A comparative analysis of eight case studies, focusing on the different stages in the lifecycle of FIs, provides the basis on which to draw lessons from the implementation of FIs in 200713, highlighting implications for 2014-20.

Údar seachtarach

Fiona Wishlade, Rona Michie, Philip Vernon, Stefan Kah Ms Claudia Gloazzo (European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, the UK, for Chapters 1-4) ; Fabian Zuleeg, Claire Dheret and Iva Tasheva (European Policy Centre, Brussels, Belgium, for Chapter 5)

Review of the Adopted Partnership Agreements

16-11-2015

This study is a comprehensive analysis of the Partnership Agreements adopted in the 28 EU Member States, also offering insight into the implementation of the elements that were endorsed by the European Parliament during the negotiations on the legislative framework. The research mainly highlights the compliance of the Partnership Agreements with the legal provisions, the state of play of the ex-ante conditionalities, and the alignment with the Europe 2020 Strategy. Strategic choices of the Member ...

This study is a comprehensive analysis of the Partnership Agreements adopted in the 28 EU Member States, also offering insight into the implementation of the elements that were endorsed by the European Parliament during the negotiations on the legislative framework. The research mainly highlights the compliance of the Partnership Agreements with the legal provisions, the state of play of the ex-ante conditionalities, and the alignment with the Europe 2020 Strategy. Strategic choices of the Member States as well as their programme architecture and coordination tools are described in the 28 summaries included in the study. Research results are synthesised in a cross-cutting analysis of the 28 Partnership Agreements showing differences and similarities of approaches taken by the Member States.

Údar seachtarach

Jürgen Pucher, Isabel Naylon and Herta Tödtling-Schönhofer

Economic, Social and Territorial Situation in Croatia

22-10-2015

This in-depth analysis was written upon request of the Committee on Regional Development. The aim is to inform Members about the political, socio-economic and administrative system of Croatia, and in particular Istria County and the City of Zagreb. The analysis also provides an overview of cohesion policy in Croatia, including the arrangements in place for the 2014-2020 programming period and the European Territorial Cooperation programmes.

This in-depth analysis was written upon request of the Committee on Regional Development. The aim is to inform Members about the political, socio-economic and administrative system of Croatia, and in particular Istria County and the City of Zagreb. The analysis also provides an overview of cohesion policy in Croatia, including the arrangements in place for the 2014-2020 programming period and the European Territorial Cooperation programmes.

Developing an EU urban agenda

09-07-2015

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an EU Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an EU Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 Communication on the Urban Dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicate broad support among city stakeholders for an EU Urban Agenda. The European Parliament has also prepared a draft report on the issue as part of this process, which is due to be debated at the September plenary session. The revised 2014-20 Cohesion Policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to increase the role of cities in cohesion programming and implementation and thus enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding. Analysis of the operational programmes prepared thus far, however, reveals a low uptake of these instruments by the Member States, calling into question the commitment of national governments to the urban agenda. While the debate progresses, Member States continue to differ in terms of their vision of an EU Urban Agenda and the means to implement it. The EP has actively participated in this debate and aims to make a valuable contribution to the efforts of future presidencies to reach consensus and move the process forward.

Economic, Social and Territorial Situation of Sicily

15-06-2015

This in-depth analysis was written for a delegation from the Committee on Regional Development visiting Sicily. The analysis provides an overview of the region of Sicily, its political, economic and administrative system, and of the Operational Programme for the period of 2014-2020.

This in-depth analysis was written for a delegation from the Committee on Regional Development visiting Sicily. The analysis provides an overview of the region of Sicily, its political, economic and administrative system, and of the Operational Programme for the period of 2014-2020.

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