The 2007-2013 programming cycle is funded by dedicated national and EU resources and is implemented through Plans, Programmes and projects within the National Strategic Framework, a reference document that sets out the strategic priorities in the use of cohesion funds over the course of the cycle.
The EU 2007-2013 programming cycle calls for the execution, in Italy, of 52 Operational Programmes co-financed using the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
ERDF co-finances 21 Regional Operational Programmes (ROP), 5 National Operational Programmes (NOP) and 2 Inter-regional Operational Programmes (IROP), besides Programmes of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective whose data are not currently published on the OpenCoesione portal.
ESF co-finances 21 Regional Operational Programmes (ROP) and 3 National Operational Programmes (NOP).
The information on the total funding of the 2007-2013 Operational Programmes co-financed by the Structural Funds and on the certified expenditure to the European Union is available in the dedicated sections of the open data page.
The implementation of Operational Programmes can be considered essentially completed.
In fact, the date of 31 December 2013, which corresponds in theory to the end of the 2007-2013 programming cycle, does not coincide with the actual deadline for implementation of projects for programmes co-financed by the European Structural Funds in the 2007-2013 cycle since the implementation of the cycle (based on the existing “n+2” implementation rules for the EU budget) continues until 31 December 2015, which is the last date on which the payments actually incurred by the beneficiaries for projects/operations can be charged to the EU budget.
An exception to this are the Financial Engineering Instruments (to which specific rules apply) for which the final date for payment to the final recipients is 31 March 2017. Moreover, according to the rules for closure, “non-functioning” projects, i.e. those not completed and in use at the time of submission of the final programme closure documents, shall be completed by 31 March 2019 with other funding.
The tenor of national territorial cohesion policy is established in Article 119 of the Italian Constitution, which recites: “To promote economic development, cohesion, and social solidarity; to eliminate economic and social imbalance; and to foster the effective exercise of individual rights, the State shall allocate additional resources and conduct special projects in favour of certain municipalities, provinces, metropolitan areas and regions.” The primary instrument for implementing the constitutional precept is the Development and Cohesion Fund (Fondo per lo Sviluppo e la Coesione - FSC), which replaced the Fund for Underutilised Areas (Fondo per le aree sottoutilizzate - FAS).
The programming of the Development and Cohesion Fund envisages resources allocated to central government bodies with CIPE resolutions or the provisions of law for individual special projects (central programming) and resources allocated to the Regional Implementation Programmes (Programmi Regionali di Attuazione - PAR) of the Centre-North regions (with the exception of Lazio), Abruzzo and Molise and resources allocated to regional government in Southern Italy and the Centre-North with CIPE resolutions for sectors or individual regional territories. A special measure is dedicated to Essential services for Italian Mezzogiorno. In addition to that, some resources have been directed to other uses with order of the President of the Council of Ministers or under provisions of law.
During the 2007-2013 programming cycle, the Development and Cohesion Fund was impacted by numerous interventions that altered its financial resources.
A reconstruction of the scale of the fund and its investments, with specific reference to resources for regional programming, is available in the report updated to September 2017, accompanied by specific analyses for each region.
Here the data on individual projects funded by the Development and Cohesion Fund Plans and Programmes, as entered in the Unitary Monitoring System by the government bodies responsible for them.
In 2011, in agreement with the European Commission, an action to accelerate implementation of programmes co-financed by 2007-2013 Structural Funds was launched (see the letter of Italy’s Prime Minister to the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council dated 26 October 2011 as translated in the Conclusions of the Summit of Euro-area Countries).
The result was the Cohesion Action Plan (Piano d’Azione per la Coesione – PAC), which was sent to European Commission on 15 November 2011. This Cohesion Action Plan is enacted by way of a revision of past investment decisions with the goal of:
- accelerating implementation of the 2007-2013 programming cycle;
- enhancing project effectiveness by orienting them towards measurable results and focusing resources;
- launching new actions, some of which prototypes, which, depending on their outcome, could be included in the 2014-2020 programming cycle.
The Cohesion Action Plan thus involves local and national government bodies in revitalising programmes with severe delays while ensuring a significant concentration of resources on fewer priorities. By taking account of the outcome of interaction with the governmental, economic and social partners, the action also anticipates a number of principles of the 2014-2020 programming cycle:
- enhanced cooperation with the European Commission and support for national competence centres;
- a focus on issues of strategic national interest based on the needs of the various regional contexts; specification of the expected results in terms of the quality of life of the public, including the definition of measurable indicators; and the detailed definition of actions aimed at achieving those results;
- application of the new European Code of Conduct on Partnership with the substantive involvement of the relevant government bodies and organisations of the (labour, business, civil society) entities whose interests are affected by the programmed actions in the preparation and implementation process;
- open data and information transparency.
The Cohesion Action Plan is defined and implemented in subsequent stages of reprogramming of the programmes co-financed by 2007-2013 Structural Funds.
The OpenCoesione portal can be used to monitor the progress of PAC projects as entered in the Unitary Monitoring System by the government bodies responsible for them, through the Programmes entry in the navigation menu.