European Commissioner for Regional Policy Ms Corina Crețu in her hearing to the European Parliament highlithed: “We have to do a better job explaining the effects of regional policy on the real economy. People are reaping the benefits of these funds without understanding that this is a European policy”.
Cohesion policy is driving the most important long term investments in the EU (approx EUR 350 billion for 2014-2020). Thus defining clear and coherent communication strategy that explains the benefits of these investments is a key task for the Managing Authorities. Authorities, together with project beneficiaries, have to demonstrate to the citizens as well as to the media and decision makers, the results of these investments. Taxpayers within the EU have the right to know how their money is spent. In order to achieve these goals, Member States and the EC discussed and agreed on improving existing requirements via simplification and transparency.
The main elements of the new information and communication rules are:
- a seven-year communication strategy (plus yearly action plans to be adopted annually by the Monitoring Committee), for which formal Commission approval is no longer needed;
- single website (or portal) for all EU cohesion policy programmes in a Member State;
- list of operations with clearer, more informative and comparable data.
The proposed rules were drafted to achieve greater flexibility, to simplify certain processes and clarify some responsibilities of the Managing Authority and the project beneficiary.
More details in the factsheet available in DG Regio website.