New plans for how EU cohesion funds are spent are simpler and more flexible, according to an Opinion published today by the European Court of Auditors. Nevertheless, the auditors make a number of suggestions on how to make sure that Member State spending has a real impact and complies with the rules.
The proposed Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) for 2021-2027 covers seven funds for investment in regional development and employment, security and border protection, and measures to support migrants in the EU Member States. Together these funds could amount to some €360 billion, up to a third of the total EU budget for the period 2021-2027. The regulation sets out common policy objectives, defines the allocation of funds between Member States, and provides rules for policy programming and enforcement.
“Overall our assessment shows that the European Commission’s proposal has succeeded in simplifying the text, but the focus on value for money has not been increased and the accountability arrangements have in part been significantly weakened”, said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the Opinion. “We make 58 proposals for the legislators and the Commission to consider, which, if taken up, will lead to a more effective and efficient cohesion policy”.