ECA about performance-based financing in Cohesion policy

Financial resources allocated to implement the Cohesion policy covered about ⅓ of the EU budget (EUR 357 billion in the financing period 2014-2020 and EUR 373 billion in 2021-2027). The instruments implemented to incentivise performance are a requirement to meet specific ex-ante conditionalities (e.g. existence of relevant legal framework) to create an investment-friendly environment, amount from the budget earmarked to be spent and disbursed provided specific intermediate objectives are achieved (the so-called performance reserve) and performance-based funding models. A more performance-based funding could help the EU to channel funds towards the most effective programmes. However, according to the ECA, in the area of the Cohesion policy, there is still no clear link between the financing and performance of operational programmes.

The ECA analysed 14 operational programmes, four of which have been implemented in Poland: Regional Operational Programme for the Małopolska Region and three operational programmes: Knowledge Education Development, Infrastructure and Environment and Intelligent Development. In case of the latter, the ECA’s analysis showed that as part of the programme priorities, intermediate objectives were met. They concerned the number of companies receiving subsidies and support, the number of operations started and the Commission’s declared spending.

The ECA auditors also communicated that in 2014-2020, the Commission made a number of changes and corrections to the rules applicable in EU Member States (e.g. concerning the achievement of intermediate objectives). That gave them an opportunity to declare better performance than the one they would have reported under the initially applicable provisions. Based on the data from the review of the programme performance implementation made by the Commission in 2019, the ECA stated that from the financial viewpoint the impact of those changes was the biggest for Poland, Italy and Spain. In case  of Poland the performance reserve which was not provided to Poland - as it failed to achieve specific objectives - totalled EUR 48 million. But if the Commission had not made the said corrections, the non-provided reserve would be much higher and would reach EUR 894 million.

Read press release and full report “Performance-based financing in Cohesion policy” (webpage of the European Court of Auditors)


Article informations

Date of creation:
10 December 2021 12:09
Date of publication:
10 December 2021 12:09
Published by:
Marta Połczyńska
Date of last change:
10 December 2021 12:09
Last modified by:
Marta Połczyńska
Cover of ECA report about performance-based financing in Cohesion policy

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