More than 1 000 financial instruments were used across the Member States for the 2007-2013 EU cohesion policy. A new special report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) shows that the necessary steps have been taken to verify the eligibility of expenditure at closure. Checks have yielded tangible results, although some errors – one large – remained undetected. But overall, the auditors note that most problems encountered in the 2007-2013 period have been cleared up.
Financial instruments under shared management (FISM) were a relatively new but important method of EU cohesion policy financing in the 2007-2013 programming period. Their contributions totalled €16.4 billion, of which €11.3 billion was made up of EU co-financing through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Eligibility verifications at closure should address errors and weaknesses spotted during implementation. But the process takes a long time: seven years after the end of the 2007-2013 programming period, some validation work is still ongoing.
“Publishing an audit report on a topic related to the 2007-2013 period today may appear outdated at first glance”, said Ladislav Balko, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “But as financial instruments have an ever greater role in the EU cohesion policy, our conclusions are both timely and relevant for the upcoming 2014-2020 closure process.”