ESIF Structured Dialogue group of experts meeting – 15th November 2016

Fifth meeting of the European Structural and Investment Funds Structured Dialogue group of experts (ESIF SD) meeting on the 15th November from 09:30hr-17:00 at the Centre de Conferences Albert Borschette (Brussels).

Minutes from the meeting are available to download here.

The recording is available here: (this link will remain available for 2 years after the event).

The documents presented at the meeting are available on the group’s page on the InfoRegio site: (please check the “Meetings” section).

The European Commission asked the ESIF SD members to communicate their research findings and/or recommendations on what works and what does not work in the current programming period as well as recommendations for the post-2020 ESIF regulations. 

Some key points from the discussions:

Update on the thematic network on partnership

  • Nine thematic networks – Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden
  • Two working groups – influencing policy – how to better promote partnership at policy level
  • Engaging better with wider stakeholders – how social partners and stakeholders can engage in a deeper and more ongoing manner during OP implementation.
  • The partnership principle has been implemented on paper but not in reality
  • The partnership has been improved compared to 2007-2013 period
  • Composition of the partnership differs in different phases of the programme cycle
  • Mobilising stakeholders is the main challenge of partnership involved
  • In order to have meaningful partnership and added value – to have differentiated involvement at different stages of the process
  • Conclusions: Important that there is variation in the implementation
  • Encourage you if you have further evidence to send it to us and we will going to follow up
  • Important point about the capacity of the civil society to contribute (i.e. some disabilities, Roma origin). We will feed this to other DGs when it comes to the Roma Strategy for example
  • We are doing a structural reform at the level of MSs
  • One thing is to be involved with the monitoring but then also to put forward solid proposals for projects
  • Every Member State has its own technical assistance which can be used

 Monitoring Simplification of the ESIF – High Level Group on Simplification

  • 12 members and a rapporteur is chosen for each specific topic
  • Make specific recommendations of non-legislative and legislative nature
  • Each report includes recommendations for 2014-2020 and for post-2020, addressed to the EC and the MSs
  • Reports, presentations, action points on the HLG website
  • European Fund for Strategic Investments and ESIF complimentary
  • Continued monitoring of implementation of the non-legislative proposals
  • Discussion on post-2020 period, including consideration of potentially more radical changes to the implementation system: the work plan will be accelerated so that the main recommendations are known before mid-2017.

Ex-ante conditionalities

Conclusions of the DG REGIO study on the implementation of the ex ante conditionalities:

  • Ex-ante conditionalities have proved highly relevant for programming of ESI funds
  • A learning process for all stakeholders involved
  • Very ambitious in terms of strategic reform for many MSs and for their cooperation with the EC
  • Guidance material provided by the EC has been much appreciated
  • Less than 20 pct of the ex-ante conditionalities in the social field were unfulfilled
  • Next March there will be a report by the European Commission on the added value of the ex-ante conditionalities

The European Commission is encouraging Member States to deliver on fulfilment of the ex ante conditionalities by end-2016 and to report on fulfilment in their annual implementation report in mid-2017.

The quality of some strategies – a key issue, rather difficult one, to make Member States to accept the ex-ante conditionalities. Some Member States say the Commission can only look at the outcome

Synergies – ongoing work, we have to go beyond guidance and take substance synergies

Very few Country Specific Recommendations will be very specific

The Commission sees the ex-ante best implemented is where the state takes the ownership, where it creates a strategy 

In the context of Deinstitutonalisation – we have to look how to do it better next time, in some countries it was contested. We will appreciate NGO and ESIF SD members input in this area.

Adoption of the legislative proposals for the post 2020 ESIF regulations are expected from 2018.

Structured dialogue members

The members of the Structured Dialogue are umbrella organisations at EU level. They have been selected according to their representativeness of one of the three categories of partners set out in Article 5(1) of the above-mentioned Regulation, following an open call for applications:

  • associations representing regional, local, urban and other public authorities,
  • economic and social partners,
  • bodies representing civil society, such as environmental partners, non-governmental organisations, and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination).

All members of the Structured Dialogue must be registered in the Commission’s transparency register.

The complete list of members is available on the Register of Commission Expert Groups, along with other relevant information.

ESIF Structured Dialogue Group of Experts Rules of procedure.

Objectives and transparency

The mission of the Structured Dialogue group of experts is to establish an open, frank and informal dialogue with partners working in the field of the ESI Funds. The Structured Dialogue is a mutual trust building mechanism in order to bring the ESI Funds closer to civil society, assist the Commission in the development of this policy in the different areas of expertise and to discuss the implementation of the ESI Funds.

Legal Basis

On the basis of Article 5(6) of the Common Provision Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, the Commission set up an expert group with partners at EU level in the field of the European Structural and Investment Funds, for the programming period 2014-2020.

The “Structured Dialogue with European Structural and Investment Funds’ partners group of experts” was formally established through Commission Decision C(2014) 4175 of 26 June 2014 pdf.

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