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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

21 Mar 2018

European Court of Auditors addresses simplification issue for FP9

Upon a request of the European Parliament and the Council, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has provided input for the preliminary legislative discussion on the successor of Horizon 2020. The European Court of Auditors addresses these requests in a briefing paper and focusses on the issue of simplifying the EU's Research Framework Programmes. The analysis shows the compexity of simplification and identifies several proposals to bring focus to the discussion on FP9.

First the paper describes a number of competing priorities for which the Commission and the budgetary authority need to find the right balance: Stability and change, accountability and ownership, legal certainty and discretion, beneficiaries interest and EU interest, regional spread and excellence. According to ECA, these dilemmas have affected the Commission’s efforts to simplify the implementation of EU research and innovation programmes. Then the paper draws attention to the following proposals to be considered to bring more focus on the current discussion on FP9: a reasonable timespan between adoption and implementation of legal acts; the use of lump sum and prizes; the use of guidelines as non binding rules; the acceptance of beneficiaries’ accounting practices, and the recognition of good project proposals under Horizon 2020 in other programmes via an one-stop-shop approach.

A performance audit on “simplification in Horizon 2020” with a special report will be published in late 2018 to support the discussion on the implementation of FP9.

Briefing Paper: A contribution to simplification of EU research programme beyond Horizon 2020


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