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Procedure : 2015/2772(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1231/2015

Texts tabled :

B8-1231/2015

Debates :

Votes :

PV 26/11/2015 - 11.8
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0419

Texts adopted
PDF 163kWORD 64k
Thursday, 26 November 2015 - Strasbourg Final edition
Towards simplification and performance orientation in cohesion policy for 2014-2020
P8_TA(2015)0419B8-1231/2015

European Parliament resolution of 26 November 2015 on Towards simplification and performance orientation in cohesion policy 2014-2020 (2015/2772(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 174 and 175 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (CPR),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002, and to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 of 29 October 2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union,

–  having regard to the Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion (COM(2014)0473),

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors 2014 Annual Report,

–  having regard to the Oral Question to the Commission on Towards simplification and performance orientation in cohesion policy 2014-2020 (O-000127/2015 – B8‑1103/2015),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution by its Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Parliament recognises the importance of significant steps undertaken by the EU institutions towards simplification, such as the simplification agenda for the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, a designated Commission Vice-President responsible for better regulation, the setting up of a High-Level Group of Independent Experts on Monitoring Simplification for Beneficiaries of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds within the Commission, the overhauled Financial Regulation and the Common Provision Regulation (CPR);

B.  whereas despite the reformed cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period, in which simplification methods are addressed, application, management, reporting and control with respect to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are still cumbersome for both beneficiaries and managing authorities, in particular those with fewer administrative and financial capacities;

C.  whereas existing gold-plating, including in the process of transposition of rules into national legislation, causes ‘drag’ and leads to longer time-out-of-market and indirect costs for potential beneficiaries seeking EU funding, thus reducing the investment impact of EU funding and creating obstacles for beneficiaries, citizens and companies in the EU, in particular small and medium-sized businesses;

D.  whereas complicated procedures can place a significant burden on beneficiaries, in particular small and medium-sized businesses, NGOs and municipalities, which are in need of EU funding, and whereas, in general, these entities do not have the financial and human resources, nor the expertise, to successfully apply for and manage EU grants; whereas the Commission and the Member States are invited to continue their efforts to make the ARACHNE risk-scoring tool operational and easier to use for the managing authorities and control systems of operational programmes, which need to ensure a proper balance between simplification on the one hand, and the detection and prevention of irregularities, including fraud, on the other;

E.  whereas duplication of audits and differences in auditing approaches and methodologies call for the implementation of the ‘single audit principle’ and a stronger focus on performance auditing, which could better assess the efficiency and effectiveness of operations and lead to proposals for simplification;

1.  Considers that the Commission should introduce detailed guidelines on simplification in order to make the Member States and their regions aware of their task of eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, the administrative burden and gold-plating arising at national and local levels in the processes of procurement, project proposal selection and monitoring and control activities, including avoiding frequent changes in rules, simplifying language and standardising procedures, as well as focusing the EU budget on tangible results; states furthermore that an integrated EU regional funding package delivered via a single interface or ‘one-stop shop’ could be an option, thus moving towards common processes and procedures wherever possible;

2.  Asks the Commission to provide the Member States and their regions with a roadmap for streamlining and simplifying control, monitoring and reporting activities, including for beneficiaries, in order to do away with the current bottlenecks;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to note the target date of 31 December 2015, as provided for in Article 122(3) of the Common Provision Regulation (CPR), for switching to e-cohesion as a precondition for significantly cutting the application-to-grant time;

4.  Invites the Commission to establish and implement, in coordination with the Member States and in line with the principle of proportionality, a light-touch approach to data and information requirements for beneficiaries in the process of application and reporting related to EU funding under shared management, and to encourage the sharing of good practices;

5.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote simplification of the rules governing financial instruments within ESI Funds with a view to aligning them more closely to beneficiaries’ needs and ultimately improving their use;

6.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to increase the use of the multi-fund approach, taking into consideration the needs of beneficiaries;

7.  Invites the Commission to enter into a structured and permanent dialogue with Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and other stakeholders on all aspects of this simplification process;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States and their regions.

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