2014+ New Regulations: Small changes, big consequences? I

Month after month, version after version of the draft Regulations, clarifications are coming. Now time has come for final amendments by the European Parliament. So at this stage, what are the latest news and, by the way, the new aspects to be taken into account?

1. Definitions

Welcome to the ‘European Structural and Investment Funds’ (ESI Funds) world! This acronym will be as a way to designate the grouping of ERDF+ESF+CF+EAFRD +EMFF

“Beneficiary” only for the purposes of the EAFRD and EMFF Regulations means also a natural person

The definition of « programming » insists now on the involvement of partners. To facilitate this the Commission is going to edit a « code of conduct »

2. Strategies

a. New potential strategies :

– A “macroregional strategy” is an integrated framework endorsed by the European Council

– “sea basin strategy”

– A “strategic policy framework” consists of a document or several documents at national or regional level

– Local action group must implemented and designed community-led local development strategy

b. And a full definition for the “Smart specialisation strategy”

It means the “national or regional innovation strategies which set priorities in order to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation own strengths with business needs to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts, and which may take the form of or be included in a national or a regional research and innovation (R&I) strategic policy framework”

3. Conditionalities and thematic concentration

EC is giving a status to “Relevant country-specific recommendations and “Applicable ex ante conditionality” that could have consequences on the negociation of Partnership agreements, OP and interim payments also !


ERDF resources at national level shall be allocated to two or more of the thematic objectives set out in points 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article 9 of Regulation

It means that ICT are now taken into account in the calculation of thematic concentration!

There are also small changes in the wording of the investment priorities and promotion of noise-reduction measures…

4. Objectives

A specific objective is “the result to which an investment priority or Union priority shall contribute in a specific national or regional context through actions or measures undertaken within a priority”

Does it mean that « measures » are back in OP? Maybe not but as a general principle « a priority axis should cover one thematic objective, one Fund and one category of régions”. So the combinaison of several thematic objectives and funds is the exemption and in this case “it is necessary to provide for cases where the combination of thematic objectives, Funds or categories of regions within a priority axis increases the impact and effectiveness of the Funds. Simplified models should be applied to technical assistance priority axes”

For results targets may be expressed in quantitative or qualitative terms

And at the end of the day, evaluations shall be carried out by internal or external experts