On 14 October 2021, the Policy Learning Platform organised a matchmaking on the topic of the management of REACT-EU funds. The session was organised at the request of the Region Hauts-de-France.
Like many other Managing Authorities in Europe, the Region Hauts de France is called to manage the REACT-EU funds made available under the Next Generation EU package until 2023. Considering the tight timeframe and the new priorities emerging in the context of crisis recovery and post-crisis resilience, the Region was looking for exchanging ideas and approaches with other EU regions on the way this additional envelope is managed.
Peers from across Europe were invited to share with the host their good practice and recommendations.
- Marco Lopriore, EU Funds expert, EIPA
- Ales Pekarek, Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic (CZ)
- Gerd Schumacher, Rene Dieck, Forschungszentrum Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (DE)
- Kristīne Karsa, Ministry of Health of Republic of Latvia, Budget and Investments Department, Latvia (LV)
Access the full follow-up report to explore all key takeaways and follow-up actions.
Some key takeaways
1. Programme management
- How do you handle a high number of applicants in a short time?
- Have you hired new staff to manage REACT-EU?
- Have you changed your processes/methods?
- What has been your communication strategy?
- Setting strict eligibility criteria is a way to ensure a limited number of applicants. This approach secures the funding being allocated to organisations having a solid profile.
- Hiring new staff can certainly be an effective measure to contribute to fast programme implementation. However, as stressed during the discussion (CZ, DE), the recruitment of new staff also carries the risk of slow uptake of the needed know-how, as new personnel requires training and time to be fully performant in an environment characterised by tight schedules and deadlines.
- Working closely with intermediary organisations (e.g. clusters, chambers of commerce, etc) is a very effective way of disseminating information on REACT-EU (DE). Moreover, active support and close communication with applicants has proven to be one of the key success factors for the call launched in North Rhine-Westphalia. At the same time, no additional measures were taken to reinforce a specific communication strategy.
2. Support to investment in products and services for health, including investments in medical equipment and infrastructure
- Is there a shared health strategy at the State level?
- What type of investments are supported in your region and which amount of ERDF is dedicated to health?
- Do you support investments in hospitals and/or elderly care homes?
- Do you experience State aid-related problems to appraise health institutions' projects?
- State aid is a challenge faced in all countries. In some cases, a declaration is provided by the applicant, and spot-checked by the Managing Authority during the project's implementation. In other cases, a calculation method is provided by the Managing Authority to avoid overcompensation, together with the availability of dedicated staff expert support to the applicants.
It is crucial to ensure the presence of competent staff members within the Managing Authority team. In a country having a multilevel governance system such as France, the national and the regional level should agree upon a common framework allowing clear guidance to the final beneficiaries.
- In order to ensure the eligibility of investments in elderly care homes, close communication with the European Commission and obedience to their detailed framework needs to be ensured.
- Ensuring timely spending of the REACT-EU resources can be achieved by different means. Clear communication on this matter is fundamental. At the application stage, it should be an important qualitative evaluation criterion. Assessors can pay particular attention to the measures described by applicants to make sure that they keep an optimum spending pace.
Download the full follow-up report below.