European Structural and Investment Funds: definitions and acronyms

Explains the terminology used in the guidance documents for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020 programmes.

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The following is an explanation of the terminology used in the Programme Guidance documents. Where lead partners or delivery agents have any uncertainty over these or any other terms used in the Programmes, they should consult with the Managing Authority.


AA – Audit Authority

ACR – Annual Control Report

AIR – Annual Implementation Report

ARM – Annual Review Meeting

CA – Certifying Authority

CEF-E – Connecting Europe Facility - Energy

COESIF – Coordination Committee for European Structural and Investment Funds

DA – Delivery Agent

EC – European Commission

EGESIF – Group of Experts in Structural and Investment Funds

ERDF – European Regional Development Fund

ESF – European Social Fund

ESFD – Scottish Government European Structural Funds Division

ESIF – European Structural & Investment Funds

ETC – European Territorial Co-operation

FEI – Financial Engineering Instruments

IAD – Scottish Government Internal Audit Division

ICT – Information and Communication Technology

JPMC – Joint Programme Monitoring Committee

LA – Local Authorities

LP – Lead Partner

MA – Managing Authority

MS – Member State (of the EU)

NUTS – Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics

OP – Operational Programmes

PA – Partnership Agreement

RTDI – Research & Technological Development & Innovation

SARP – Scrutiny and Risk Panel

SCO – Simplified Cost Options

SF – Structural Funds

SG – Scottish Government

SI – Strategic Intervention

SME – Small and Medium Enterprises - as defined by the EC:

TA – Technical Assistance

YEI – Youth Employment Initiative


Annual Control Report – Report on audit and compliance from AA to EC, each year

Annual Implementation Report – Report on delivery from MA to EC, each year

Beneficiary – A public or private body responsible for initiating or both initiating and implementing operations

Challenge Fund – Competitive process for selecting Operations

Delegated Acts – Subordinate or technical Regulations

Europe 2020 – The EU's growth strategy

Fiche – Draft EC Guidance

Final recipient – An organisation receiving support from a SF programme

Grant – Contribution to the project from the SF

Grant Scheme – Activity run by an Operation to provide grants to enterprises

Implementing Acts – Subordinate or technical Regulations

Intervention Rate – The SF contribution to the Net Eligible Costs of a project (expressed as a percentage)

Match Funding – Contribution to the project from the LP, DA or other funder.

N+3 – Principle outlining the timescale for programme expenditure to be declared to the European Commission. N is the commitment year. +3 is the year by the end of which allocations to programmes in N have to be spent (or returned to the EC)

National Rules – The rules for the delivery of the programmes, as defined by the MA in line with the regulations

Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics – A hierarchical system for dividing up the economic territory of the EU

Operational Programmes – National programmes agreed between SG and EC

Participant – An individual receiving support from a SF programme

Partnership Agreement – Document setting out how the UK programmes will align with Europe 2020 and how the ESI funds will be invested

Regulation – EC legislation underpinning the SF programmes

Technical Assistance – Funding received by the MA to support delivery of the Programmes

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