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Reform Support

Supporting reforms to reinforce efficient and high quality public administrations.

Improvement of the implementation performance and absorption capacity of structural funds at the local level in Italy

In 2018, based on a request of the Italian authorities, the European Commission commissioned the OECD to support Italy in strengthening its capacity to programme, manage and implement regional and cohesion policy, in cooperation with the Department for Cohesion Policy at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy.

Context

In the EU Cohesion policy programming period (2014-2020) Italy was facing implementation delays and absorption problems of European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) and national funds for development, a fact that reduces policy effectiveness. This was mainly due to weak administrative structures, programming and management capacity and project-design skills, especially at the regional and local levels.

Support delivered

Support provided was split in three areas:

  1. Administrative Reinforcement Plans (PRAs);
  2. Project-design support funds; and
  3. Territorial development strategies.

Each area included capacity-building workshops and concrete guidelines for improvement, which enabled Italy to identify the issues in the current system and processes, as well as the opportunities to address these, with the enthusiastic participation of stakeholders across all administrative and geographical areas, including the regions of Campania, Tuscany, Sardinia, Sicily and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Results achieved

These results came at a crucial time, preparing Italy to draft the Partnership Agreement which guides the implementation of ESIF throughout the 2021-2027 Programming Period. With the results of this project, Italy is better equipped to ensure the better design of such agreement, as well as the processes for absorption of ESIF at the local level and across all administrative levels during the programming period 2021-2027.