“Blending is the next big thing in EU development policy funding. Operating in a budgetary straitjacket, the incoming Commission will be under huge pressure to stretch the leveraging of EU funds with loans to its limits” according to Karel Pinxten, the ECA Member responsible for this report. “It is paramount that blending is only used when the Commission can clearly demonstrate its added value. The audit shows that this was not always the case in the past” continued Mr Pinxten.
For nearly half of the projects examined by the auditors there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the grants were justified. For a number of these cases there were indications that the investments would have been made without the EU contribution.
The Commission has indicated that it wishes to extend the use of blending and this will involve a considerable amount of development aid in future years. As at 31/12/2013, the Commission had already entered into contracts for over €1.6 billion for the regional investment facilities.
Press release: Audit in the field of EU External Actions: EU auditors warn the incoming Commission on the use of blending