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Conclusies Raden Buitenlandse Zaken en Handel op 13 mei 2011 (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 13 mei 2011.

3086th FOREIGN AFFAIRS/TRADE Council meeting Brussels, 13 May 2011

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

  • 1. 
    The Council welcomes Special Report No. 13/2010 of the Court of Auditors, which it has carefully examined. The Council notes that the objective of the audit by the Court of Auditors was to assess whether the new ENPI had been successfully launched in 2007 and was achieving results in the Southern Caucasus, by focusing on three main issues: a) whether the first annual action programmes were well designed, b) whether the implementation of the first annual action programmes had led to timely and successful achievements, and c) whether the Commission had adequately exploited the delivery tools available under the ENPI. The Council notes that the audit focuses on the first ENPI Action Programmes approved by the Commission in the period October to December 2007 and does not take into account further developments and achievements, which fall outside its scope.
  • 2. 
    With respect to programming and design, the Council notes that the Commission had applied a multi-annual planning system to define EU assistance priorities in line with the ENPI regulation. The Council notes the findings of the Court that the lengthy programming and design process did not suit the fast changing and conflict-affected environment of the Southern Caucasus, endangering the relevance of the assistance, and that the achievements were overall mixed.
  • 3. 
    As regards delivery tools, the Council notes the Court's findings that the Commission had succeeded in varying the way in which it provided financial assistance by combining sector budget support with Twinning, but that the predominant tool, sector budget support, was insufficiently prepared, compromising performance.
  • 4. 
    The Council urges the Commission to address the recommendations from the Court, in particular by, (i) streamlining the programming and design process through the strengthening of the links between the strategic documents and the annual action programmes, as well as through rationalising the strategic documents and further prioritisation during the programming; (ii): assessing carefully the eligibility for budget support on the basis of clear criteria and choosing sector budget support more selectively by considering all alternative options in ENPI and developing a more balanced deployment of the different tools; (iii) improving the preparation and documentation of the decisions to launch budget support operations: specifying concrete objectives for these operations, specifically and explicitly tailored to the unique circumstances of the recipient country; (iv) providing sufficient qualified staff for its implementation; (v) identifying possibilities to make sector budget support more visible and ensuring the monitoring of this tool; and (vi) helping to strengthen the general framework for public administration in the partner countries by using complementary measures to Twinning.
  • 5. 
    The Court calls on the Commission to consider (i) providing for an organisational structure that strengthens the links between the strategic documents and the annual action programmes, (ii) rationalising the strategic documents and (iii) prioritising further during programming. Additionally, the Court makes a number of country specific recommendations, which the Council approves. In this context the Council recommends that with the establishment of the European External Action Service the opportunity should be taken to streamline the programming and design process. Additionally the Court makes a number of country specific recommendations, which the Council approves.
  • 6. 
    In the light of the ongoing ENP review process, the Council invites the EEAS and the Commission to take into consideration the recommendations provided by the Court in its Special Report No. 13/2010 for the whole neighbourhood area.
  • 7. 
    It also invites the Court to consider the possibility of further assessing the ENPI operations in the whole neighbourhood region.
  • 8. 
    The Council also takes good note of the Commission's replies to the Court's Report, in particular the explanations given by the Commission in response to the specific remarks of the Court on the shortcomings which were observed. The Council notes the Commission's view that despite initial delays and some issues resulting from adjustment to external factors, the overall achievements of the budget support and of Twinning arrangements launched in the South Caucasus countries are positive. The Council welcomes that the Commission is continuing to work on further streamlining of the programming process in order to take into account the lessons learned and make the assistance more effective."

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