General findings of DG REGIO on stock-taking exercise of aligning EUSDR with European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF)

(January 2016)

At the National Coordinators´ meeting in Brussels, 10 December 2015 the National Coordinators (NC) were invited to provide practical examples how they aim in their respective countries to ensure financing of the EUSDR relevant projects. The following main findings can be drawn from the information provided to DG REGIO:

-       At the strategic document level: In general, the EUSDR objectives are well embedded in the Partnership Agreements´ and Operational Programmes´ texts in the Member States. Therefore this level is not further considered in the following country-specific examples.

-       At the operational level: a few countries already apply specific selection criteria in some of their programmes (i.e. giving bonus points, earmarked budget, etc.)

-       Internal coordination: many countries are already using different approaches, which in general seem suitable for involving the programmes into the process

-       NCs in principle have a good overview of both national and international funding sources

-       Several NCs are taking part in the Monitoring Committee meetings of ESIF Funds as member or as observer in order to help to facilitate funding of relevant projects

-       The involvement of Steering Group members of the specific priority areas at national level into the work of ESIF programmes (i.e. into the work of the Monitoring Committees, etc.) via the NCs or directly brings tangible results in the implementation, while increasing ownership. Steering Groups members must be active in identifying the funding sources and describing the added value of the projects to the Managing Authorities (MA) in their respective countries (there are many cases where there are no links even if the SG member works in the same institution where MA is located!)

-       When identifying priority projects the Managing Authorities should be involved in order to minimise the risk of developing projects, which are not suitable for the identified programmes

-       There is still misunderstanding by some programmes claiming that Danube MRS relevance is connected to the proximity of the River. Danube Region is not only the region close by the river! It is the whole region, the same covered by the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme.

DG REGIO is ready to facilitate further practical arrangements in the countries (e.g. taking part at coordination meetings, in liaising with geographic desks, bringing EC- Delegations on board, etc.). Countries may have bilateral consultations with each other in order to get further inspirations or practical hints.

NB. The below reports on the state-of-play were provided by the National Coordinators. Please note that these are evolving documents and subject to updates by the EUSDR countries.