The future of EU finances: final meeting of the High Level Group on Simplification of EU Funds

Today, the high level group of independent experts holds its last discussion on how to simplify access to EU funds and cut red tape in the management of funding programmes in the post 2020 Cohesion Policy. During the day they will exchange with Commissioner for regional policy Corina Creţu and Commission experts on practical ways to implement the main proposals of their final report presented in July 2017. The discussion focuses especially on 1) the preparation of future programmes and how to avoid delays 2) online methods and common indicators to make reporting by Member States and beneficiaries easier 3) simple and readymade solutions to reimburse costs and limit paperwork 4) more harmonised criteria to assess the performance of Cohesion policy investments and fewer, more proportionate controls. Commissioner Creţu said: “The High Level Group addressed difficult topics, like audit and controls, and it did so with courage and no taboo.The experts drew up a rich set of clear and detailed proposals for simpler access to EU funds in the future. They can be proud of their work.”High Level Group Chairman Siim Kallas said: “Cohesion Policy funds are the most visible, positive elements of the EU, but over the years too many rules have been added. Our recommendations show that significant simplification is not only needed but also feasible”. Created in 2015 at the initiative of Commissioner Creţu, the High Level Group started its work by formulating a number of proposals , some of which were taken on board in the mid-term review of the current budget. The Group then dedicated all its efforts to setting sail on post 2020. The Commission proposal for the future Cohesion Policy is expected before the summer 2018, following the Multiannual Financial Framework proposal.