Thursday, June 08, 2006

The EU Just Doesn't Get It

An EU study has revealed that many European SMEs don't apply for EU research funding because their financial staff recommend so. One of the reasons for financial staff is that EU reporting guidelines are so complicated. Another reason is that financial staff are often unaware of the financial benefits of EU funding.

Both reasons are valid. It's a communication issue, on the one hand, that people aren't aware of the benefits that such EU projects have. Once you have the money, you can do some serious and productive work. On the other hand, financial reporting for EU projects is indeed not too simple.

The sad part of the story is that the study comes to the conclusion that "better education of the financial community on the financial benefits of participation in EU research programmes, and improved dissemination of information in order to clear up misunderstandings over issues such as co-financing" will do the trick.

I don't believe it. The study clearly reveals that complicated EU reporting rules are a reason for SMEs not applying for funding, and yet the only solution proposed is to communicate things better? What about simplifying things instead, for once? What the hell is wrong in Brussels?

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