Stronger efforts are needed to embed effectiveness and efficiency in EU cohesion policy, according to a new briefing paper by the European Court of Auditors. Moves towards this goal in the design of the legislation have not always been matched by effective action on the ground, say the auditors. They identify a number of areas with scope for improvement, from strategic planning and policy implementation to monitoring and evaluation. They also warn that, while increased simplification has a number of benefits, it may reduce the focus on performance in cohesion spending in the 2021-2027 programme period.
Around one third of the EU’s yearly €140 billion budget is devoted to cohesion policy. According to the European Commission, ensuring that cohesion spending is performance-oriented is one of the cornerstones of the 2014-2020 programme period. It is also one of the main objectives underpinning the Commission’s legislative proposals for 2021-2027.
“At the heart of our review are 14 guiding principles based on our extensive audit work through the years. We believe that they are key to ensuring that EU cohesion policy is geared towards performance”, said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the briefing paper. “While there have been positive developments in the legislative framework, a number of areas, such as strategic planning, policy implementation and ensuring sustainability, could be further improved.”
Press Release: Focus on performance in EU cohesion spending should be strengthened, say Auditors