The New Regulations for Financial Management and Audit of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds: lessons from 2014-2020 and key issues for 2021-2027

Project number: 2130208

- Online Course -

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Date & pricing

21/09/2021 - 23/09/2021
Register before: 17/09/2021

€ 700,00 per attendee

€ 630,00 for EIPA members*

The New Regulations for Financial Management and Audit of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds: lessons from 2014-2020 and key issues for 2021-2027

From:  630,00

This course will compare the Financial Management and Audit rules between the 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 programming periods. There will be a special focus on financial planning, increasing the use of Simplified Costs Options, anti-fraud measures and protecting the audit trail.

About this online course

How have the Financial Management and Audit rules changed for the new 2021-2027 period? What do new Programmes look like and what will be the key issues for finance and audit? There is some doubt that the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will be subject to the same financial rigours as Cohesion Policy funding. Can the new Structural Funds programmes and the RRF plans learn lessons from the 2014-2020 programming period for Cohesion Policy?

This course will compare the Financial Management and Audit rules between the 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 programming periods. There will be a special focus on financial planning, increasing the use of Simplified Costs Options, anti-fraud measures and protecting the audit trail.

What you will learn? 

  • Dermot Byrne, a leading Member State audit practitioner, will underline how control and audit differ, look in detail at the audit of accounts, systems and operations for 2021-2027, and highlight key audit issues for Cohesion Policy and the RRF.
  • Using ARACHNE may become a requirement for some projects in the future. Luc Molemans, the European Commission’s ARACHNE Project manager, will explain and illustrate how ARACHNE works and how you can use it.
  • We look at how to complete the Simplified Cost Options section of the new OP template.
  • We will take a close look at the Programme and Reporting templates for the new Structural Funds programmes, examining the special link between finance and performance, and how will you report programme progress.
  • Finally, we take a special look at the urgent actions of the RRF and the live issues of project selection, financial control and audit.

How we work

We aim to make the course as interactive as possible. Participants will have ample opportunity to exchange views informally on the course topics. Workshops and exercises will be used to help participants get to grips with practical tools and methodologies.

Read Marco Lopriore’s paper: ‘Recovery and Resilience Plans for the Next Generation EU: a unique opportunity that must be taken quickly, and carefully

Read paper

Who is the course for?

This course is intended for:

  • managers and practitioners from managing authorities (Managing, Certifying and Audit authorities) whether they are national, regional or local authorities; and from other public bodies of EU Member States (and associated countries) working with Structural Funds
  • economic and social partners / stakeholders working with the Structural and Investment Funds, such as employers’ associations, consultants, NGOs, education bodies etc.
Robin Smail

Robin Smail

Robin Smail Training & Consultancy
EU Structural Funds

Dermot Byrne

Dermot Byrne

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the Republic of Ireland
EU Audit and Public Management

Luc Molemans

Luc Molemans

European Commission
IT project manager

Practical information

Online Course
For this online course we make use of Zoom

Remote simultaneous interpretation
Remote simultaneous interpretation can be offered in Spanish, French and Italian on request. Contact the Programme Organiser for more information and conditions

Programme Organiser
Ms Nancy Vermeulen
Tel: +31 43 32 96 212

EIPA member fee
EIPA offers a discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Early bird discount
Book up until 21 July to get a 20% early bird discount

Please note that the early bird discount will be applied at a later stage, when you receive the final invoice. The early bird discount is not cumulative with other discounts or promo codes, except for the EIPA member fee.

Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €50 for cancellations received after confirmation of your participation. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.
EIPA reserves the right to cancel its live online activities up to 1 week before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed

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The programme

08.30 Opening of ZOOM platform
09.00 Welcome of participants, opening of the online course, Tour de Table
Marco Lopriore, Expert, EIPA, Maastricht
09.15 The new draft Regulations, 2021-2027: policy context and highlights for financial management

  • The draft new regulations: legal framework of CPR
  • Link to the European Semester and Country Reports (Annex D)
  • Flexibility of the new Emergency Amending Regulations (CRII and CRII+)
  • Claiming expenses; reducing red tape; extensions of deadlines
  • European Recovery Plan, REACT-EU, Cohesion funding and the RRF Recovery Facility

Marco Lopriore

10.00 Break-out rooms: financial allocations
10.20 Short break
10.30 Programming and Programme Structure 2021-2027

  • Partnership Agreement, simplification
  • programming and programme structure
  • justifying priorities, financial allocations
  • conditionality, concentration, use of funding instruments
  • programme performance, monitoring and evaluation
  • the project pipeline, project selection and value for money
  • the Programme template

Robin Smail, Visiting Expert EIPA, Consultant, UK/IE (and former Detached National Expert, EC)

11.15 Virtual Coffee break
11.35 Programme Finance, Financial Management: moving from 2014-2020 to 2021-2027 (part 1)

  • the Programme template
  • the new programmes, programme finance, European Council conclusions
  • financial planning, commitments, automatic de-commitment

Robin Smail

12.10 Emergency responses to the Health Crisis:  REACT, RRF

  • Using REACT, scope and eligibility, compliance to state aid
  • Management and control systems in Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF)
  • RRF: double funding, prevention of fraud and corruption and conflict of interests

Marco Lopriore

12.55 Question and answer session
13.15 End of first day
12.45 ZOOM Platform opens
13.00 Simplified Cost Options and extending simplification in 2021-2027

  • Two levels system of SCO
  • The options available in flat-rates, unit costs and lumpsums
  • Financing not linked to costs
  • EU level SCO in ESF+ and ERDF

Marco Lopriore

13.45 Break-out rooms: audit and control of flat-rates

  • Errors in methods and application of flat rates for different cost categories
  • verifications steps in using flat-rates

Marco Lopriore

14.20 Coffee break
14.40 Programme Finance, Financial Management and Control: moving from 2014-2020 to 2021-2027

  • pre-financing, interim payments, technical assistance
  • the accounting year and calculation of the annual balance
  • financial information, financial control
  • timetables for payments, reporting and closure
  • financial control, management verifications

Robin Smail

15.30 Short Break & meet Guest Speaker
15.45 Control and Audit of Structural Funds, 2014-2020 and 2021-2027

  • Management and Control Systems (MCS), audit of systems, new Key Requirements
  • annual Accounts – preparation, audit and acceptance by Commission
  • audits of operations, sampling

DISCUSSION: your most frequent audit issues, and simplifying audit work

  • protecting the audit trail for REACT-EU projects
  • audit issues for RRF

Dermot Byrne, ERDF Audit Authority, Department of Public Expenditure Reform, Dublin

16.50 Break-out rooms: audit and control of unit costs and lumpsums

  • errors in standard scales of unit costs and lump-sums
  • verification steps

Marco Lopriore

17.20 End of second day
08.45 Opening of ZOOM platform
09.00 Review of Issues from days 1 & 2
09.05 Eligibility of Expenditure

  • Review of changes in eligibility of ERDF, ESF and CF
  • Highlight on direct staff costs, VAT, durability and relocation, location, and visibility
  • New flat-rates for technical assistance
  • most common errors: direct or indirect costs? Time-keeping records? Double-funding? Synergies with other grants?

Marco Lopriore

09.55 Break-out rooms: eligible expenditures
10.30 Virtual Coffee break & meet Guest speaker
10.50 Anti-fraud: using the ARACHNE system

  • What is ARACHNE? Objectives and benefits
  • ARACHNE overview – Data sources and dataflow, State of the play in the Member States, basic concepts of Arachne
  • Risk indicators and categories, risk scoring principles
  • experiences, cases, lessons learned

Luc Molemans, Arachne Project Manager, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Unit F5 – Information Technologies, European Commission, Brussels (BE)

11.50 Short Coffee Break
12.00 Measuring Value for Money / Evaluation questions
12.15 Programme Finance and Programme Performance

  • monitoring and reporting performance
  • finance and performance: the new Performance Framework, output and result indicators
  • reporting performance: new Reporting template
  • evaluation and Value-for-Money (VfM)

Robin Smail

13.00 Question and answer session
13.05 Evaluation feedback from participants
13.15 End of course