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Open Days 2005: European Week of Regions and Cities – Managing the Structural Funds and Instruments Addressing Absorption Capacity in the New Member States.

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Presentation on theme: "Open Days 2005: European Week of Regions and Cities – Managing the Structural Funds and Instruments Addressing Absorption Capacity in the New Member States."— Presentation transcript:

1 Open Days 2005: European Week of Regions and Cities – Managing the Structural Funds and Instruments Addressing Absorption Capacity in the New Member States Workshop 12D11, 12 October 2005 Professor John Bachtler European Policies Research Centre University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

2 2 European Policies Research Centre specialises in comparative research on public policy throughout Europe focus on monitoring and analysis of regional development policies at European and national levels policy advice and exchange of experience through two networks: –EoRPA (European Regional Policy Research Network) - national government departments responsible for regional policy – 10 countries –IQ-Net (Improving the Quality of Programme Management) – regional and national Structural Fund programme management authorities from 12 Member States

3 3 IQ-Net partners – regional and national programme management authorities United Kingdom North-East England ODPM Wales (WEFO) Western Scotland (SEP) Spain País Vasco Sweden Norra Norrland Norra Germany North-Rhine Westphalia Saxony Anhalt Finland Western Finland Alliance Ministry of the Interior France DATAR/CNASEA Austria Lower Austria Styria Belgium Min of Flemish Community Denmark North Jutland/Nat Agency Italy Lombardy Tuscany IPI/MAP Hungary National Office for Regional Development Greece Min of Economy & Finance

4 4 Addressing Absorption Capacity in the New Member States Absorption – need for effective management Contextual issues - domestic policy and institutions Implementing EU Cohesion policy and absorption – key issues –Programme management structures –Programme marketing and project generation –Project appraisal, selection and approval –Project follow-up –Claim and payments systems Conclusions

5 5 Absorption – need for effective management Large inflows of funds can cause economic instability (inflation, reduced competitiveness) Strategic objectives and operational targets of Cohesion policy require mechanisms to manage and deliver Funds – both commitment and spending EU15 have not had a good record in spending: –large underspend in and periods and protracted process of programme closure –decommitment rule in period has increased financial absorption, although not everywhere (eg. Netherlands) –in some countries (eg. UK) n+2 has been at the expense of project quality New Member States doing well in terms of committing funds ( period) but less so in terms of spend; will forecasts for December 2005 be met?

6 6 Absorption – EU15 experience ( ) Objective 1: full absorption - rate close to 100% Objective 2: much lower absorption – 74%

7 7 Absorption – EU15 experience ( ) Objective 1: 45%. Objective 2: 40%. Objective 3: 39%

8 8 Absorption – EU10 experience ( )

9 9 Contextual issues – domestic policy and institutions Macroeconomic policy, including public investment – ensuring economic stability, availability of domestic co-finance Regulation of labour markets, product markets and capital markets – conducive to employment creation, entrepreneurship, good corporate governance, private sector financing Policy context: - Existence of national policy strategies in key sectors eg. network industries - Existing re-distributional policies – between regions (tax- benefit system), between regions/municipalities (equalisation mechanisms or regional policy) Efficiency of public administration – bureaucracy, competence of administrators, human resources and equipment, independence from political pressures, public credibility

10 10 Implementing EU Cohesion policy and absorption – key issues Programme management structures Programme marketing and project generation systems Project appraisal, selection and approval systems Project follow-up systems Claims and payments systems

11 11 Programme management structures Centralised vs decentralised approaches Subsumed vs differentiated approaches Delegation to specialist bodies Key factors: - compatibility with institutional arrangements for domestic policy - clarity of definition and understanding of roles, responsibilities and relationships between organisations - adequacy and sufficiency of human and physical resources to meet demands of programme implementation - effectiveness of coordination (vertical and horizontal) - quality of the strategy – especially analyses of needs of target groups - flexibility to change (shift expenditure between budget headings) - availability of co-financing - learning and feedback systems

12 12 Programme marketing and project generation Information and publicity strategies – distinguishing between: - informing and awareness-raising (announcing) - communication for successful projects (informing & engaging) - communicating for a successful programme (discussing) use of qualified specialists and intermediaries to assist beneficiaries with generating good projects managing expectations information exchange between programme managers

13 13 Project appraisal, selection and approval Transparency and credibility of selection processes and criteria (potential need for legislative basis) Efficiency of project selection systems (time period, stages) Need for different approaches for different types of beneficiary Feedback from project selection outcomes to programme managers and beneficiaries (eg. reasons for lack of success, concerns about project quality, differences between regions, priorities and target groups)

14 14 Project follow-up Real-time monitoring of project progress (dedicated staff to assess project progress and delivery) Risk assessments of beneficiaries (traffic light systems) Support for project delivery (aftercare, outreach staff, training in project management) Ambitions of some programmes to develop project life-cycle approach, especially for novel or sophisticated interventions or inexperienced applicants

15 15 Claim and payments systems Pros and cons of different financing systems – advances vs reimbursements Efficiency of systems for claim/payment management and monitoring (human resources, IT systems) Managing the rate of submission of claims (incentives vs penalties, overcommitment, reserve lists of projects) Improving the quality of claims – developing customer relationships with implementing bodies and beneficiaries Control systems – trade-offs between simplification (light touch) and potential for irregularities

16 16 Conclusions Absorption is fundamental to successful implementation Constantly changing challenge – regulatory environment, evolution of programmes, market conditions, types of beneficiary etc Investment in capacity – structures and systems Scope for learning and exchange of experience No such thing as a perfect system – Structural Funds implementation is primarily about improving economic development not the efficiency of administration


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