Briefing Notes

1. Cohesion Policy: Background and Development
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This informative paper gives a brief background of the Unions Cohesion policy in order to set the reforms of the 2014-2020 legislative framework governing the ESI Funds in context.  The paper provides a road map of key Union instruments, policies and strategies that have developed and refined through each funding period to the current multidimensional development strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

2. European Structural & Investment Funds Regulations and Mechanics 
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This informative paper sets out the relevant Regulations and Guidance documents, detailing the mechanics and operation of the ESI funds, the monitoring, reporting and evaluation requirements and the bodies responsible for management and control of the ESI funds set up in each Member State.

3. Spending the European Structural & Investment Funds
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This informative paper provides information on how the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) are spent including the types of payments made by the European Commission and the role of the Member State management and control bodies. The large majority of ESI Funds are spent through public procurement. The process and procedure of public procurement in respect of the ESI Funds is set out together with new public procurement Regulations that introduce greater opportunities for small to medium enterprises and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to access 2014-2020 funding. Challenges encountered in the spending of ESI Funds in previous programming periods are highlighted, with special attention to the findings of the European Court of Auditors. Conditions on spending ESI Funds introduced by the Common Provision Regulation 1303/2014 and initiatives of the Commission to support better spending of the ESI Funds are presented.

4. Accessing the European Structural & Investment Funds
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This informative note provides general information on who can apply for ESI Funding, where to apply and calls for proposals, the role of the Managing Authority, selection of projects including eligibility and evaluation criteria as well as contacts for help and advice for applicants.  Contact your Managing Authority in your country for information on applications and specific requirements on access to funding. 

5.  Reforms introduced by the 2014-2020 legislative framework of the European Structural & Investment Funds
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Compared to 2007-2013 cohesion policy, the new framework proposes a number of new mechanisms to ensure the ESI Funds deliver on their objectives.  This briefing notes sets out these reforms including; a sound strategic approach through Partnership Agreements and programmes, thematic concentration, the performance framework, ex ante conditionalities, a closer link to European economic governance, increased opportunities for the use of financial instruments, support to institutional capacity and minimum shares for European Social Fund contributions.

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Presentations

Seminar presentation held in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway “Ending Institutional care and the shift to community based living for all: The European Structural and Investment Funds” – PowerPoint presentation available to download here.

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Events

Roundtable in the European Parliament ‘Building on the Promise of European Structural and Investment Funds into the Future’ on 1st December.