The introduction of the new regulations on cohesion policy 2014-2020 has thrown the spotlight on the capacity of Member States to fully adapt to the new requirements for using the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. This has a direct bearing on the ability of Member States to properly implement their investment programmes and achieve the best possible results.
Across the EU, roughly 24 000 staff members are involved in the implementation of the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund (CF). Altogether these people possess a wealth of knowledge and invaluable know how which could and should be exchanged in order to further improve the management of the investment programmes. A recent study commissioned by the DG Regional and Urban Policy has confirmed that there is high demand for a peer to peer exchange instrument among bodies managing the ERDF and the CF.
At the beginning of 2014 a survey and a series of in depth interviews were carried out asking EU Member States about their capacity building needs related to the management of the European Structural and Cohesion Funds. The outcome of this demand analysis was unequivocal. Approximately half of the respond ents confirmed the need for further capacity building and nearly all of the respondents (90%) thought that a new EU level instrument facilitating peer to peer exchange would be a valuable complement to the existing capacity building measures (e.g. training and consultancy).