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New rules for the financial management of the structural funds

Under the new programming for the structural funds 2007-2013, the Commission establishes new rules to simplify and facilitate the financial management of the funds. New conditions for financing:
The structural funds must target the priorities of the European Union regarding the promotion of competitiveness and job creation (Lisbon strategy). At least 60% of the Operational Programmes for Convergence and 70% for Regional Competitiveness and Employment will be dedicated to this Lisbon strategy. The maximum co-financing rates have changed, they are:
- between 75% and 85% for Convergence
- between 50% and 85% for Regional Competitiveness and Employment
- between 75% and 85% for European Territorial Cooperation.
At last, expenditure are only eligible if it has been incurred between January, 1st, 2007 and December, 31st, 2015.

New rules for commitments:
Budgetary commitments are made per annual proportion for each fund and each objective. Moreover, a portion of the budgetary commitment is automatically decommitted by the Commission if it has not been used or if no payment application has been received by the end of the second year following that of the budgetary commitment (n+2).

Differences from 2000-2006
- All rules governing financial management valid for the structural funds are also valid for the Cohesion fund.
- Regarding the eligibility of expenditure, the rules are established at national rather than European level.
- The application for the first intermediary payment must be made within 24 months following the transfer by the Commission of the first proportion of the pre-financing allocation (otherwise the Member State must reimburse the pre-financing allocation).
- For Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia, the deadline for the automatic decommitment is n+3 (instead of n+2) between 2007 and 2010.
- Financial management becomes more flexible: a partial closure of transactions already completed is possible before the programme as a whole is completed


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