On 16 November 2016 a focus group on gold-plating in ESIF took place in Brussels. The focus group was organised in the frame of the study "analysing gold-plating in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) of the 2014-2020 programming period" for the European Parliament's REGI Commitee.

The European Parliament has commissioned Spatial Foresight to conduct this study and asked representatives from beneficiaries and managing bodies to reflect on the first results and to discuss recommendations and possible solutions to avoid gold-plating.

20 representatives of managing authorities, audit authorities, certification bodies, but also European economic and social partners engaged in lively discussions on thereasons for gold-plating, the main effects of gold-plating and possible solutions for gold-plating.

The focus group helped to consolidate the preliminary findings and ensure solid conclusions and recommendations of the European Parliament study. It allowed participants to increase their understanding on gold-plating in ESI Funds, exchange experiences and engage in formulating strong recommendations for the study.

The final report from the study has been published on the EU Parliament's webpage and can be downloaded here.



Focus group conclusions

The key lessons from the discussions as well as the overall conclusions has been summarised. The conclusions from the focus group can be downloaded here.

Key lessons learnt

  • Gold-plating can happen at all administrative levels involved in the delivery of a policy, from EU level to local level. It is understood as national, regional or local rules and regulations (or failures to apply simplification measures) which make EU legislation unnecessary complicated and thus costly when implemented in the various members states.
  • The reasons for gold-plating are manifold. Moreover, most additional rules and requirements results are driven by risk aversion, fear and uncertainty.
  • Increasing administrative costs and burden are the main effects of gold-plating. Subsequently, this leads to descreasing effectiveness of ESIF, increasing risk of errors and an increasing focus on compliance rather than performance.
  • Gold-plating is not necessarily negative. It may be justified if it reduces the administrative burden, if it increases the effectiveness of the programme, if it contributes to achieving other EU policy objectives (such as EU competition and environmental policies).

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