Project selection procedures in Cohesion policy still emphasise outputs and spending rather than results, despite a longstanding intention to improve matters, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Moreover, say the auditors, shortcomings in monitoring make it difficult to assess the extent to which EU funding has contributed to EU and Member State objectives.
Over the period 2014 to 2020, through its Cohesion policy, the EU has allocated almost €350 billion to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development and improvement in quality of life in the Member States. In previous reports, the auditors have welcomed measures by the European Commission aimed at increasing the focus on results. However, they have also highlighted serious weaknesses in the measures’ effectiveness and monitoring. For this report, they examined projects from seven programmes located in four Member States: the Czech Republic, France, Italy and Finland.
“Although the set-up of Cohesion policy programmes is now more results-oriented, with a stronger intervention logic and an extensive set of indicators, we conclude overall that project selection is not yet sufficiently results-oriented and monitoring continues to be mostly output-oriented,” said Ladislav Balko, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report.