On 14 September 2016, as part of the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European Commission published a proposal for a REGULATION on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (so called Omnibus-Regulation).
This legislative proposal contributes to the two main objectives of simplification and flexibility and concerns the implementation of all areas of the EU budget and the control of the EU funds and programmes. The proposal thus includes all types of EU spending, ranging from blending instruments such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), to shared management such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and centrally managed EU programmes such as Horizon 2020.
As the guardian of the interests of local and regional authorities, it is essential for the European Committee of the Regions to evaluate whether the legislative proposal has taken on board the views of European Cities and Regions, as expressed in its opinions. Based on this evaluation, the CoR will suggest amendments to the legislative proposal where necessary.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes that a number of simplification proposals which were drawn up during the joint workshops co-organised with the Presidency of the Council on the simplification of cohesion policy, found their way into the legislative proposal, such as the move towards a more performance based approach to payment by the Commission;
- regrets that not all simplification proposals on audit found their way into the legislative proposal; it recommends introducing the possibility of a tailor made audit strategy for operational programmes, based on proportionality principles, rewarding good results on previous audits and the use of national audit methods;
- suggests investigating the experiences with the use of Joint Action Plans and an evaluation of the delivery mechanism;
- welcomes the proposals to improve the combination of ESIF and EFSI, however, there are still some doubts about the added value of having two delivery mechanisms. The different status of directly managed EU funds, such as EFSI and Horizon 2020, and of the shared-management ESI Funds with respect to state aid increases the administrative burden and impedes synergies between the tools;
- regrets that the legislative proposal opens the possibility of shifting resources from Cohesion policy to other centrally managed programmes or to increase the risk-bearing capacity of the EFSI;
- underlines that many causes of complexity can be found within delegated and implementing acts, as well as in the Commission's guidelines. A large number of additional requirements result from this secondary regulation, and it is necessary to simplify it;
- requests that the simplification of Cohesion Policy should be continued with the proposals for the programming period post-2020.