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Report from the third meeting of the Structured dialogue group of experts regarding European Structural and Investment Funds

Representative of PREPARE Goran Šoster attended the third meeting of the Structured dialogue with European Structural and Investment Fund's group of exerts in Brussels (ESIF SDG). The main topic of the meeting was Mainstreaming of the horizontal principles as laid down in the Common Provisions Regulation. Some new members, pan-european organisations, joined the expert group for the first time, upon the call for extension of the group. In the first part of the meeting, representatives from several DG’s (DG Agri, DG Regio, DG Empl and DG Mare) made reports about the state of play regarding the negotiations of programmes. The most advanced are programmes in the sector of DG Agri, where 96 out of 118 RDP are confirmed. The others will follow in the next few months.

European Commission launched the High level Group on Simplification. Unexpected high interest resulted in 320 applications, from which only 12 experts were selected into the group. Gold-plating will be one of the main challenges of the High Level Group on Simplification. Open online platform will enable broader involvement in discussion about simplification measures.

Special attention was devoted to the migration crisis, where European Social Fund aims to cover the costs of integration of refugees into new social environments and European Regional Development Fund will cover the costs of food and material for asylum seekers. Beside ESF and ERDF re-locations, European Commission established new Fund to mitigate the migration crisis.

In the final phase of negotiations, it became clear, that only 17 out of 28 European member states decided to apply the measure CLLD – Community Led Local Development. In most cases, CLLD did not contribute to the simplification, since all European Funds involved, insisted on their own rules, which made the programming both at the local and at the national level even more complicated compared to mono funding approach.

The main aim of the meeting was to exchange the views on mainstreaming of the horizontal principles as laid down in the Common Provision Regulation. Several themes were presented and discussed:
- Climate and environment protection,
- Gender equality,
- Inclusion of disabled persons and
- Fight against discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation.

More details and the presentations from the meeting are available here.

Report made by: Goran Šoster, former PREPARE Coordinator, Brussels, 17 November 2015