What Future for EU Structural Fund Programmes?

Nordregio News Issue 1, 2013

Photo: Karin Beate Nøsterud/norden.org

Everyone is Talking About the 'CSF'

A new programming period for the EU Structural Funds begins in 2014. The draft regulations, showing in broad terms how the EU Commission sees the way ahead over the next six years, were published in October 2011. However, the regulations are currently going through a process of discussion and negotiation, both in the Council and the European Parliament, from which they may emerge with considerable changes. One aspect of particular interest is the call for strategic focus and greater 'coherence' between the activities of the five funds (the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development [EAFRD], the European Regional Development Fund [ERDF], the European Social Fund [ESF], the Cohesion Fund, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund [EMFF]). In this issue of Nordregio News, we take a closer look at aspects of this reform as well as the current progress in the Nordic countries towards new programmes for 2014 and onwards.

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Which Way Forward for Cohesion Policy Programmes in 2014–2020?

By John Bachtler

Despite the failure of Member States to agree the financial framework for 2014-20, and the associated delay in finalising the regulations for Cohesion policy, Member States are hard at work on their Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes (OP). During November and December 2012, the Commission has been presenting its 'Position Papers' on the programming of resources, especially its assessment of development challenges and the priorities for each Member State. This article considers how some of the key elements of the proposed regulatory framework (relating to strategic coherence and programming, thematic concentration, performance, and the integrated approach to territorial development) are being translated into practice.

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Preparations for the Structural Funds Programming Period 2014–2020 in Mainland Finland

By Riikka-Maria Turkia

The Managing Authority of The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and The European Social Fund (ESF) programmes in mainland Finland, i.e., the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, was determined to avoid the delays and problems that characterised the start of the 2007–2013 programming period. Therefore, the preparations for the next period were started soon after the publication of the Fifth Cohesion Report. A working group including all the relevant stakeholders was established to discuss the organisation and priorities for the future period. The initial starting point was similar to the thinking of the European Commission: management of the funds and the organisational structure both need to be simple; and funding has to be focused on fewer priorities to achieve a better impact on the policies involved.

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Getting Their Act Together – or Just More Alphabet Soup?

By Andrew Copus, Ole Damsgaard and Gunnar Lindberg

One of the main goals of the coming programming period is coherence between the different EU funds. This article looks into the process and tools for a co-ordinated and integrated delivery of the so-called Common Strategic Framework (CSF) funds. We will also examine the process so far in the Nordic Member States and highlight some similarities and differences in how these countries are dealing with the implementation and architecture of the programmes.

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