Managing the 2007-13 programmes towards full absorption and closure

Cite as: Michie, R., & Granqvist, K. (2013) Managing the 2007-13 programmes towards full absorption and closure. IQ-Net Review Paper, Vol. 32, No.1, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

The rate of financial implementation has improved significantly across the EU27, with the average payments rate now at 51.4 percent (May 2013). Yet there are wide variations between countries. In most IQ-Net programmes, financial progress can be considered to be good. Commitments are beyond 68 percent and figures reach 100 percent in some cases. Payments are often progressing slower than would be wished in spite of high commitment figures. Spending challenges and interruptions of payments as a result of audits continue to affect financial progress of programmes.

The Strategic Reports 2012 show good progress towards physical targets and there are already signs of the long-term positive effects of the measures. However, there is little consistency in the reporting against core indicators. The measurement of physical progress has been a learning process for many during this programme period, with examples of targets having been set too low, or too high. Programme managers have taken various actions to address the challenges of measuring physical progress, including revising or re-negotiating indicators or targets, taking action to improve reporting by beneficiaries or Intermediate Bodies, and introducing new measures to stimulate new projects. The economic crisis has had an important impact, including public sector budget restrictions and corresponding problems to ensure co-financing at national and/or regional levels, slow progress of some priorities due to a decreased demand and fluctuations in exchange rates. Internal factors such as a lack of human resources have also slowed progress in some cases.

Few IQ-Net programmes have been formally revised or are in the process of revision with some programmes preparing to make revisions towards the end of the 2013. As the programme period is coming an end, implementation structures and procedures remain stable. FEIs have made an important contribution to reaching programme targets although by the end of 2011 only one-third of allocations to FEIs had reached final beneficiaries. Evaluation activity has continued with many evaluations feeding directly into development of the new programmes for 2014-20. Now that the final closure guidelines have been published, managing authorities have been making decisions about internal deadlines, updating or preparing domestic guidance, investigating the possibility of part closure, setting up working groups for closure, drawing up risk registers, and disseminating information via training, workshops and newsletters. Human resources may be an issue for closure as attention increasingly turns to the 2014-20 programmes.

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