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The Court examined whether the high priority of lifelong learning and knowledge transfer within the EU’s rural-development policy was matched by the Commission’s and Member States’ efforts to deliver high-quality knowledge-transfer and advisory activities. The audit found that this was not the case. Too often Member States relied on the proposals coming from the training providers and any type of training was seen as ‘good’ and eligible to receive public support. Only infrequently was there proper analysis made of whether such activities could make a real impact. Member States did not always ensure fair and transparent competition when selecting the training activities and paid too much for certain services. In terms of follow-up, the audit found a lack of detailed evaluation of what was actually achieved with the public funds. In its recommendations, the Court particularly encourages the Member States to adapt the knowledge-transfer and advisory activities they choose to the evolving needs of the rural operators through recurrent procedures of analysis and evaluation.
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