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Special report 12/2022: Durability in rural development – Most projects remain operational for the period required, but there are opportunities to achieve longer lasting results

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20/06/2022

Since 2007, the Commission has spent more than €25 billion of rural development funds to diversify its rural economy and improve infrastructure. Funded projects were required to remain operational for at least five years.

We examined whether these investments delivered durable benefits. We found that legal durability requirements are largely met. The durability of diversification projects varied across sectors and Member States. Weak economic performance and illegitimate private use affect the durability of projects such as tourist accommodation.

We recommend that the Commission should share best practices to better target funds on viable projects, mitigate the risk of diversion of projects for private use and harness the potential of large databases.

ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.