The eligibility of costs for support is based on the project’s funding decision and its terms, as well as national legislation and especially the decree on eligibility for support (the Government decree on the eligibility of costs for support receiving funding from the European Union’s regional and structural policy (cohesion policy) funds, 866/2021). The decree on eligibility for support applicable to projects under the 2021–2027 programme period entered into force on 7 October 2021. Projects under the 2014–2021 programme periods are subject to the acts and decrees valid at the time of their approval.
Various purchases often constitute a major cost item in projects. Procurement must comply with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts (1397/2016) if the beneficiary operates in the public sector (the state, a municipality, joint municipal authority, public organisation or foundation), or if public funding accounts for more than half of project fund-ing. Public funding means funding allocated to projects by the EU, the state, municipalities or other public organisations, including the self-funding of the beneficiary. The terms related to procurement in your project are described in your project’s funding decision.
As a rule, projects are only partly funded from cohesion policy funds. Projects must therefore have other sources of funding. The amount of support applied for (i.e. EU and state funding) and other project funding must be indicated in the project’s funding plan. Funding must be presented in the plan divided between private, municipal and other public funding based on the source of funding. The funding plan must also indicate the self-funding of the beneficiary. Self-funding means the contribution of the beneficiary’s organisation to project funding.
Agreements on external funding must be attached to the application, and funding must be paid to the beneficiary’s account. If no agreements are available during the application stage, the funding authority will request them when processing the application.
Beneficiaries must apply for the payment of structural fund support by submitting a payment application, which must be completed in electronic format in the EURA 2021 system. The application and all attachments must be submitted to the funding authority in electronic format through the system.
Audit and control
The goal of project auditing and control is to ensure that funding is used appropriately, and programmes are complied with. The most common auditing measures include onsite verification visits by the funding authority. The purpose of the onsite verification visits is to ensure that the results and goals described in the project plan are achieved, and costs are eligible for support. Verifications will be carried out during the project period. They also serve to provide guidance and support for the project. The visits offer good opportunities to discuss the project and its implementation.
In addition, auditing is conducted by the supervisory authority (the Government Financial Controller's Function of the Ministry of Finance) and the EU’s auditing bodies (the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors).
With regard to individual projects, auditors may have the right to audit the project and its funding as a whole. Auditors have the right to access all buildings, facilities and locations significant for the project. Furthermore, auditors have the right to audit the above locations and the beneficiaries’ conditions, information systems and documents. Beneficiaries are obligated to provide auditors with the documents required and enable them to access their facilities and information systems.
Hint: Pay attention to exhaustive documentation and document archiving from the begin-ning of your project.