A new process for planning EU rural development spending is too long and complex, with shortcomings that hinder both performance and results, according to a report from the European Court of Auditors. The auditors also found that, despite efforts by the European Commission, implementation of programmes did not start earlier and spending began more slowly than in the previous period.
EU rural development policy aims to make agriculture more competitive, ensure the sustainable management of natural resources and achieve balanced development of rural economies and communities. The EU plans to spend nearly €100 billion on rural development over the period 2014 to 2020.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development provides financial support for measures carried out by the Member States through national or regional Rural Development Programmes, which are prepared by the Member States and approved by the Commission.
“Planning for a new period always faces the problem of starting before adequate, relevant data are available from previous periods”, said Janusz Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “We found that the programming documents are too complex and voluminous and yet insufficiently focused on expected results”.