The amendment to the implementation law is to facilitate the use of EU subsidies. The new regulations simplify the process of applying for funding and reduce bureaucracy. They also create the institution of the European Funds Ombudsman, who will look after the interests of beneficiaries of EU funds. The changes will benefit mainly local governments and entrepreneurs who make the most use of EU funds.
– The Act on the principles of implementing programs in the field of cohesion policy from the current financial perspective 2014-2020 is a positive signal. It introduces several important simplifications for beneficiaries. These are simplifications in the control area, as well as in the scope of the appeal procedure, the possibility of claiming their rights during the implementation of the application for funds – says Arkadiusz Lewicki, director of the Team for Public Programs and Economic Communities at the Polish Bank Association.
At the end of May, the government adopted an amendment to the so-called the implementation act, which concerns the principles of implementing programs in the field of cohesion policy until 2020. This is part of the Business Constitution, or a package of laws that are designed to fundamentally reform economic law. The amendment, signed by the president in July, is to simplify procedures related to the use of EU funds. It will be mainly used by entrepreneurs and local governments, mainly beneficiaries of EU funds.
– From our point of view, as a financial environment, the most important simplification introduced by this law is to facilitate access to bridging loans. It is a loan that makes it easier for the beneficiary to obtain financing for the period when he runs a project that has not yet received a refund – says Arkadiusz Lewicki.
So far, the regulations have blocked entrepreneurs from being able to provide financial security due to assets acquired from the EU project. This caused numerous cases of banks rejecting credit applications.
– We received numerous signals from the banking market regarding such cases. Thanks to the amendment of the implementation law, this risk was successfully managed – says Arkadiusz Lewicki.
The amendment also limited the number of documents used in the implementation of the project. Until now, applicants had to comply with the provisions of approximately one hundred different documents (guidelines, recommendations, instructions, detailed descriptions of priority axes). This burden has disappeared – from now after signing the contract, the beneficiary must apply only to the guidelines of the Minister of Development and Finance, without having to analyze the stack of documents.
Applicants were also exempted from the obligation to provide documents that the institution can obtain on its own, such as certificates from the National Court Register, Social Insurance Institution or a tax office. Importantly, the amendment makes it possible to improve the application for funding if it does not meet formal criteria (instead of automatically rejecting it).
An important change is the appointment of the European Funds Ombudsman who will look after the interests of the beneficiaries of EU funds. This will create an additional opportunity to resolve disputable cases and obtain institutional support in dialogue with the institution distributing public funds.
The amendment to the implementation law also introduced the division of competitions related to applying for funding for stages, the so-called round. An entity that does not manage to submit a competition application on time will be able to make up for it in the next round
– At the moment, a lot of investment projects are being launched, financed from EU funds with the participation of entrepreneurs, and banks are an important partner in this process. Thanks to this amendment, it will be possible to use external financing on much easier terms than ordinary, commercial ones. Changes resulting from the implementation act in our opinion should be visible in the coming months – assesses Arkadiusz Lewicki.