Flags of the 16 federal states of Germany; source: istock.com/ZU_09

© istock.com/ZU_09

Regional funding is made at the regional level. At the regional level in Germany are the federal states, the so-called "Länder". Therefore it is the task of the Länder to implement the programmes supported by the structural funds.

Structural funding is carried out on the basis of operational programmes (OPs). The OPs contain descriptions of the funding strategies of the particular region. The OPs must, however, be consistent with the strategy (partnership agreement) negotiated at the national level and must be approved by the European Commission.

The European Commission publishes examples of projects funded out of the ERDF and the ESF of the Länder.

The public authorities in charge of implementing EU structural funding must provide the European Commission with an "annual implementation report" for each preceding calendar year. This is the prerequisite for the European Commission's continuing reimbursement of the benefitting parties' expenditures, which are financed in advance by the national public authorities.

The annual implementation reports are generally published on the website of the public authorities responsible for implementing the programme.

The German Federal Government is responsible for coordinating the two structural funds ERDF and ESF. It is represented here by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which is the German federal ministry in charge of this area and EU affairs. The ministry deliberates and agrees on a national position in the case of structural funding issues concerning both the Federal Government and the Länder, bundles these interests, and represents them in Brussels before the bodies of the European Council and the European Commission responsible for EU structural policy. In relation to the ERDF, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy functions as the coordinator of all issues concerning the ERDF and is the point of contact at the national level for the Länder and for the Commission.

Other federal ministries important for EU structural funding are: