The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) has delivered many of the expected benefits since its set-up in 2013, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Procedures were generally well organised, but shortcomings in the selection of projects were identified. The auditors also pointed to risks to the timely implementation of the programme and weaknesses in performance reporting. Moreover, the Agency could achieve additional synergies in its programme management by aligning and harmonising procedures across the three sectors it covers.
INEA was set up in 2013 to implement programmes supporting infrastructure, research and innovation projects in the areas of transport, energy and telecommunications on behalf of the European Commission. It has been entrusted with managing projects worth a total of €33.6 billion in the current 2014-2020 period, making it the largest budget managed by an EU executive agency. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) accounts for over 80% of this budget.
“The Commission should strengthen the legal framework for INEA’s management of the delegated spending programmes”, said Oskar Herics, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “This is essential to ensure a more transparent use of EU funds and to contribute fully to the overarching goal of advancing the trans-European networks.”