Efficient and successful decentralisation
Despite, or rather due to our concerns over the future of cohesion policy and the difficulties in managing the structural funds, we are determined to use our experience and know-how to Europe’s advantage.’ This is the constructive spirit in which Adrien Zeller, Vice-President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and President of the Regional Council of Alsace-F, and Jean-Paul Heider, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Alsace, addressed Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy.
Mr Zeller has presented the outcome of the Alsace experimentation of responsibility transfer in the management of Objective 2 Community programmes for 2000-2006. He stressed that this management has distinctly improved since it has been decentralised. ‘We are glad to announce that the Alsace Region has globally reached all its objectives. Our Region is now well-prepared for the new Operational Programmes and we have already created dynamic partnerships with several neighbouring Regions, which will prove very useful in the development of our projects. We are ready to take the lead on the next programming period’ he concluded. Klaus Klipp, AER Secretary General, added: ‘Alsace can be considered as an example for all European Regions who call for more decentralisation. The AER commits to support all these regions and thereby contribute to make the management of forthcoming Community programmes more efficient.’
In spite of this positive conclusion, some problems remain. That is why the AER has presented a series of 10 points to Commissioner Hübner dedicated to improve the management of structural funds. The Alsace Region’s experience as the Managing authority for two EU programmes, i.e. “INTERREG III A Rhin Supérieur Centre-Sud” and Objective 2, was taken as an example to explain to Mrs Commissioner Hübner the difficulties that exist in terms of delayed payments, monitoring systems, administrative burdens and coordination between the different services within the European Commission. Mrs Hübner then said to commit herself to enhance the good relationship between DG Regio and European Regions in order to smoothen all these difficulties and maximise the efficiency of structural funds
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