On 21 March 2018, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published the briefing paper “A contribution to simplification of EU research beyond Horizon 2020”.
EUA welcomes the initiative and is pleased to see its own recommendations for achieving an effective simplification of the rules for participation in the 9th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9) reflected in the publication. EUA’s campaign “EU funding for universities”, which aims at improving funding conditions for universities at the European level, focuses on two elements: increased EU funding for research, education and innovation on the one hand; and simpler and more efficient programme rules on the other. In this context, EUA has developed a structured dialogue with the Court as part of its performance audit on simplification of Horizon 2020.
In its briefing paper, the Court advances proposals to increase EU regulators’ attention to five dilemmas. In line with EUA’s paper “Taking simplification of EU funding to the next level: the university perspective”, the proposals focus on the need to strike the right balance between stability and change, accountability and ownership, legal certainty and discretion, beneficiaries’ interest and EU interest, regional spread and excellence. The Court notably draws attention to the need to accept beneficiaries’ accounting practices and develop mechanisms that would allow the EU to fund more of the excellent research proposals submitted in the FP, for instance via structural funds, two core recommendations promoted by EUA. The Court is expected to publish a special audit report in late 2018.