STRUCTURAL FUNDS MANAGEMENT IN GREECE:
The experience of the Management Organisation Unit
of the CSF
EU Structural Funds in Greece
Greece is a peripheral EU country with no common land borders with other Member States. The major weaknesses of the Greek economy are infrastructure deficits, unemployment rate above the EU average, high share of employment in agriculture, low productivity (deficits in R&D, skilled workforce and business investment) and a lagging behind telecommunications sector.
The whole of the Greek territory qualifies as Objective 1 Region under the Structural Funds. There are currently 7 areas of intervention and 24 Operational Programmes (11 national and 13 regional). Key priorities:
Ø Infrastructure 56,5%
Ø Support to the private sector 21,9%
Ø Human resources development 19%
For the period 2000-2006, EU structural assistance to Greece amounts to a total of EUR 28 billion (Objective 1, Community Initiatives, Cohesion Fund).
Overall, under the regulations governing the 2000-2006 Structural Funds, there was a major transfer of responsibility to the Member States, while stricter conditions for financial management were put in place. This new regulatory framework was designed to improve effectiveness and transparency. In practice, however, the new system encountered a number of difficulties in Member States.
Implementing CSF Interventions
In Greece, CSF interventions and the tight regulatory framework required the establishment of efficient implementing bodies together with sound financial management at every level of Government. Therefore, a series of reforms in public expenditure management was introduced by law, incorporating detailed implementation procedures. Despite these reforms, several difficulties were encountered in the process of adopting the new implementation and monitoring system, mainly due to:
Ø Incompatible national systems with Community regulations
Ø Serious inflexibilities and inefficiencies in the civil service structure
Ø Inadequate coordination between government departments
Ø Lack of specialised human resources and know-how
Ø Multitude of weak and inefficient Final Beneficiaries
Ø Technological gaps
Ø Cumbersome procedures delaying implementation
Enhancing the management capacity of the Greek Civil Service
The Management Organisation Unit (M.O.U.) was established under the Community Support Framework in order to strengthen the management capacity of the CSF implementing bodies.
It is a non-profit making institution, operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, but is placed outside the civil service. The Unit’s legal status (Societe Anonyme) allows it to bypass the rigid administrative procedures and inflexibilities characterising the Greek civil service. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors and its workforce is made up of highly qualified staff, recruited from both the private and public sector.
The MOU has played a vital role in the setting up of the CSF management structure. MOU provided the following:
Ø Selection and recruitment from the private sector of a total 830 specialists for the staffing of 40 Managing Authorities and other administrative bodies.
Ø Deployment of five Expert Teams to support final beneficiaries with management weaknesses (“flying consultants”)
Ø Elaboration of numerous management systems and tools
Ø Implementation of intensive training programmes for staff involved in the implementation of the CSF
Ø Procurement of state-of-the-art office equipment and modern infrastructure facilities for the Managing Authorities
Ø Introduction of modern information technology systems
Ø Study and preparation of innovative management systems in view of the next programming period
The MOU is a unique experience of administrative structure for Greece. It combines staff from both the private and public sector and provides modern infrastructure facilities and high quality services to public authorities. It is a flexible and efficient unit, with high levels of performance, able to respond immediately to a number of urgent needs and requests. Its role is to complement and not to substitute the civil service by providing efficient technical assistance to the CSF implementing authorities.
Friday, July 21, 2006
STRUCTURAL FUNDS MANAGEMENT IN GREECE: