Omnibus Regulation: Council Adopts Simpler Rules EU Funds Management

The so-called Omnibus regulation was adopted on 6 July 2018. It will amend the existing EU Financial Regulation to make financial rules simpler and more results-oriented.

The Omnibus Regulation sets out the overall framework for budget management, as well as a number of acts governing the EU’s multiannual programmes in various fields, including Cohesion policy. In concrete, the changes include inter alia:

  1. extended use of  Simplified Cost Options (SCO) in relation to concrete outputs and / or results and in particular with the introduction of “single lump sum” covering all the costs of the operation on a “beneficiary-by-beneficiary” approach
  2. extended flat rate options by the introduction of a 7% of total direct costs without justification at programme / project levels
  3. extended combination of funding sources will also become easier through blending facilities and / or specific platforms
  4. extended inclusion of volunteers work and in particular the time of SME owners who don’t get some salaries.
  5. extended application of the “single audit principle” that could mean reduction of overlapping controls and limitation of controls for small beneficiaries.

All these improvements are expected normally to cut significantly red tape for both beneficiaries, authorities and all those involved in the implementation of the EU budget, who will be able to focus on policy achievements rather than collecting and checking financial documents.

The new rules will enter into force on the third day after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will apply immediately for the most part. The EU institutions have been given more time – until 1 January 2019 – to adapt to the new rules as far as their administrative expenditure is concerned.

As a reminder, the Omnibus Regulation for agriculture was already adopted on 13 December 2017, as a separate act from the rest of the proposed Omnibus regulation. It brought several changes in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy for the first and second pillars, aiming to simplify the implementation of the policy.