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Lessons Learnt from the Closure of the 2007-13 Programming Period

Martin Ferry, Stefan Kah
Keywords: programme closure, 2007-13 programming period, lessons learnt, Committee on Regional Development, ERDF, Cohesion Fund, financial management

This article is based on a study for the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament. It analyses the closure process for programmes funded under the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund in 2007-13. Programme closure is often seen as a purely technical process. It involves shutting down the operation of a programme, finalising the reporting and recording of results, and ensuring sound financial management. However, closure also plays an important strategic role. Key decisions are taken by programme authorities at this stage: in the allocation of remaining funds; in securing and raising awareness of achievements and legacies; and, in ensuring a smooth transition to the next programming period. These decisions are taken in the context of considerable pressures: to absorb the maximum funding available; to respond to financial controls and audits that often take place around programme closure; to deal with issues arising from the implementation of specific projects; and, to ensure administrative resources are available at a time of transition between programme periods. Based on a review of academic and evaluation evidence, recent research, legislation, EC and Member State policy papers as well as evidence from EU, national and sub-national stakeholders, this article details the regulatory provisions, guidance and support provided for closure in 2007-13, and assesses the issues faced and responses made by programme authorities, summarised under three headings: absorption, types of intervention and administrative capacity.

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 views expressed in this article are personal.


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