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Maximisation of Synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and other EU Instruments

Martin Ferry, Stefan Kah

This article is based on a study for the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament. It provides a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the existing scope for synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) and other EU instruments contributing to Europe 2020 goals. It identifies different arenas for the pursuit of synergies (regulatory settings, governance arrangements, strategic frameworks and implementation approaches), noting achievement thus far, and, looking towards 2020, assessing the potential for maximising synergies. This analysis is based on a review of academic and evaluation evidence from the 2007-2013 period, recent research, legislation, EC and Member State policy papers and guidance for the 2014-2020 period as well as evidence from EU, national and sub-national stakeholders on the degree of change in approaches to synergistic working and the associated benefits and challenges. The study identifies a shift from focusing on the demarcation of Funds and instruments to avoid overlaps and duplication towards a push for more synergistic working in the design and implementation of initiatives under specific themes and objectives. However, this process is not uniform: there is strong variation in the scope for and extent of synergistic working at different stages in the policy process, in different thematic fields and in different territories.

Martin Ferry is a Senior Research Fellow in the European Policies Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde. He specialises in regional economic development and policy governance in Central and Eastern Europe (particularly Poland) and the United Kingdom. Stefan Kah is a Knowledge Exchange and Research Fellow in the European Policies Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde. He is manager of the IQ-Net network of Structural Funds programme authorities and specialises in regional policy and Cohesion policy in Alpine countries, particularly in Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect upon the institution for which they work.


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