In 2007 the European Union is launching a new set of programmes: up to 975 billion over a seven-year period. These new funds will be easier to access, more transparent and better accounted for than in the past thanks to the reform of the EU financial management rules.
The new rules will reduce red tape. This will make EU grants easier to access especially for beneficiaries with limited resources such as small NGOs and small companies. For the first time ever EU research grants will be available for individual researchers. Better accountability and increased transparency are vital to ensure that EU funds, which are public money, are used properly at all levels.
The new rules introduce an obligation to publish the lists of beneficiaries who receive EU money through governments in Member States, third countries or through international organisations, and the exchange of information on proved fraud cases. Member States will also improve reporting on how they spend EU funds managed directly by them. Such measures will increase the effectiveness of EU policies and help protect taxpayers' interests.
The success of the new funding period 2007-2013 is a challenge for all those involved: first of all, the beneficiaries themselves, who will use the funds to carry out their projects; the European Parliament, who gave its crucial support to the process of modernisation of the financial management rules; the Member States, which actually manage almost 80% of the EU funds; and finally the European Commission, which holds the ultimate responsibility for how these funds are spent. The new rules will provide better, simpler and more practical solutions for all those working with EU funds, while ensuring effective control over public spending.