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‘Simplify cohesion funding’, Commission told

The European Commission must reduce, simplify and align the rules governing EU regional development funding, an expert group has recommended.

State aid, public procurement and cost-reimbursement rules across different EU funds “need a good clean up”, the independent group of experts on cohesion policy reported on 11 July. Differences between the funds’ rules make it difficult for local authorities to manage them and for organisations to apply to them, the group said.

Selection methods and criteria should be the same across funds, the experts said, which would mean removing restrictions from cohesion funds (also known as structural funds). Cohesion funds support regional development, with a certain proportion devoted to funding research and innovation.

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