In 2006, the European Commission engaged together with the European Investment Bank in a new initiative, known as ‘Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions’ (JASPERS). Its main aim was to provide independent free-of-charge advice to help the Member States that joined the EU in 2004 or later to prepare high-quality ‘major projects’. We found shortcomings in the definition of JASPERS’s main objectives and roles and responsibilities, which put accountability at risk. There were also significant weaknesses in the setting-up of the new Independent Quality Review function, leading to a high risk of lack of impartiality. While JASPERS contributed to quicker project approval and better quality of underlying project documentation, it could generally not impact on the absorption of EU funds. Its impact on Member States’ administrative capacity did not yet result in higher degrees of independence from JASPERS’s assistance. The observed weaknesses, in combination with significant shortcomings in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of JASPERS activities, put at risk the successful operation of the initiative, particularly in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
Special report no 01/2018: Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) – time for better targeting