For the Cohesion policy funds during the 2014–2020 programme period, we examined how well Member States focus on results in selecting projects and how well the Commission and Member States can demonstrate, through their monitoring, that the EU budget is well spent. We found that although the Commission has taken various measures to increase results-orientation, selection procedures continue to emphasize outputs and absorption rather than results. Moreover, shortcomings in the monitoring arrangements made it difficult to assess the extent to which EU funding has contributed to the achievement of the EU’s and Member States’ objectives.
We recommend that, during the selection process, the Member States ensure a comparison of project applications, require beneficiaries to identify at least one real result indicator for each project to be included in the grant agreement and contributing to the OP indicators, and assess expected results and indicators in the evaluation report of the applications. The Commission should definecommon result indicators for the ERDF, improve reporting on performance, and ensure a meaningful performance review in 2019.
Special report 21/2018: Selection and monitoring for ERDF and ESF projects in the 2014–2020 period are still mainly outputs-oriented