Ιt is very important for potential beneficiaries to be informed with respect to financing opportunities in the framework of operational programmes and citizens to learn about the results delivered by the cohesion policy and the Funds.
In order to serve “the right of the citizens to know” as regards the management of the resources of the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Commission, in agreement with the member states, designated some obligations, so that the resource allocation procedures are transparent and citizens are in a position to know the targets and results of the co-financed programmes.
For this reason the member states must provide regular and comprehensive information on available investment opportunities and programmes and publish information on projects and beneficiaries.
The information and communication rules on the European Union cohesion policy are set out in Regulation (EC) 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and Council of December 17th, 2013. The provisions on information and communication are set forth in articles 115-117 and Annex XII.
In short, the main requirements for information and communication on the cohesion policy make the member-states and the managing authorities responsible for:
- drawing up communication strategies for every operational programme
- ensuring the establishment of a single website or a single website portal providing information on operational programmes
- informing potential beneficiaries about funding opportunities under operational programmes
- publicising to citizens the achievements of the cohesion policy and project examples
- organising an event at the beginning of a programme
- carrying out a major annual outreach activity\
- publishing the list of operations (projects and beneficiaries), which shall be updated every 6 months.
The project beneficiaries shall be responsible for:
- the placement of a billboard or permanent plaque in the project’s construction site (with a permanent plaque for the purchase of physical objects) with public support exceeding €500,000.
These must include the EU flag, as well as a reference to the EU and the relevant Funds.
- The beneficiaries with an existing website must identify the support received by the EU in this website and their workspace through a displayed poster.
The managing authorities of each operational programme are obliged to ensure that beneficiaries have been informed of their responsibilities. The managing authority must also monitor compliance with those rules and fulfil its own communication responsibilities.
The technical characteristics of the informational and communication measures together with the guidelines on the obligations of the management bodies concerned are set out in detail in the Communication Guide to PA 2014-2020.