The rate of financial implementation has improved across the EU27, with the averagepayments rate now at 37.4 percent (May 2012). Yet, there are wide variations between countries. In most IQ-Net programmes, financial progress can be consideredto be satisfactory. There have not been any major changes to implementation structures and procedures in most IQ-Net partner programmes with the exception of England. The main issues of concern continue to be compliance with public procurement and eligibility of expenditure. Good progress has been made with financial engineering instruments. IQ-Net programme authorities have continued their evaluation efforts with results feeding into the Strategic Reports 2012 and the programming process for 2014-20. Preparations for closure have started in a small number of programmes.
Looking at the 2014-20 delivery framework, the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) is welcomed. The performance reserve, conditionalities and the administrative effort remain at the centre of criticisms. There is debate about the need for balance between thematic concentration and flexibility to adjust to regional needs. A strengthened local agenda is welcomed, but there are concerns about the capacities of local authorities. Most IQ-Net countries and regions have made considerable progress in preparations for 2014-20 through the setup of working groups, studies and evaluations. An important issue for many is the availability of future co-financing and as a consequence there are plans to focus more on financial instruments. Simplification of implementation arrangements remains an important concern and regions are looking for simpler implementation structures and procedures. In several countries, a reduction in the number programmes is planned.