Administration in Structural Funds projects (RiR 2012:22) (Swedish contribution to the report) Simplification of the Regulations in Structural Funds (Report published by the EU Contact Committee)
Report ID: 207
Motive: The purpose of European Cohesion Policy is to reduce economic and social disparities within the EU. The policy is also intended to contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 targets, which relate to making the EU more competitive. Within the framework of Cohesion Policy, Sweden is receiving approximately SEK 15 billion from the Structural Funds – the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – in the programming period 2007–2013. The resources from the Structural Funds are matched by national public co-financing of about the same amount as the EU funds.
The objectives of the Structural Funds in Sweden are, among other things, to strengthen skills development, increase labour supply and foster innovative environments and entrepreneurship. Structural Funds resources finance projects that, for example, aim to provide support to jobseekers and to create new jobs. In total, it is estimated that just over 2000 national projects with at least 315,000 participants will receive support from the ESF during the programming period 2007–2013. About 1400 projects have been granted funds from the ERDF since 2007.
At present, negotiations are in progress on the EU budget and the Structural Funds Regulations for the programming period 2014–2020. In these negotiations, Sweden has pursued a more restrictive EU long-term budget and a realignment of priorities. In this context, Sweden is also acting for simplification of the rules for Cohesion Policy.
If the objectives of the Structural Funds in Sweden are to be achieved, it is important that the resources are used efficiently. The Riksdag has also expressed that it is of interest that Structural Funds resources going to Swedish projects shall be used in as efficient a manner as possible. Both at the national and the EU level, it has been established that there is a need for simplification in order to reduce the administrative burden and the risk of errors. According to the Swedish NAO, simplifying the administration in Structural Funds projects is an important precondition for an efficient use of Structural Funds resources in Sweden. It should be pointed out that a reduction of the administration should take place while maintaining sound financial reporting and control.