EU projects worth billions are not only being delayed, but will not reach their initially set objectives, according to the reporting of the heads of European Union delegations.
A working document authored by the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control Chair, Ingeborg Grässle, and obtained by New Europe, 805 EU projects worth €13.7 billion are delayed, while 500 projects worth €9.9 billion will fail altogether. Remarkably, 500 projects worth €8.6 billion are both delayed and will not reach their initially set objectives.
As the document states, “the impact of almost every second Euro spent by the EU is being delayed,” “every third Euro spent by the EU does not have the planned impact,” and “every fourth Euro spent does not have the planned impact and the activities are delayed.”
Indeed, tens of billions of Euros are being squandered due to inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the European Union’s External Action Service. While the High Representative Federica Mogherini has only been in office as of 2015, the figures collected and reported for the year 2014 are more than worrying.
In December 2010, the EU’s ambassadors to third countries were authorized to use the European Commission’s external funds within countries in which they are based. Since then, the heads of the delegations have had to complete yearly evaluations on the financial management, indications on performance and efficiency of the used funds.
Among other important data, the document also exposes the worst performing EU delegations in terms of amounts of “projects at risk.”
Neglecting the problem projects
More problematically for the EU, projects with implementation issues were found to be visited less frequently than projects without problems. Indeed, in 2014, 71.9% of all projects were visited by the EU delegations. Conversely, 28.1% of projects (730 in total) had not been visited by the delegations, among them 289 projects that were considered “endangered.”
“Particularly worrying,” are the “78 projects that will definitely not reach their objectives … and have not been visited by the delegations.”
Accountability, auditing, and problematic projects
In terms of accountability, the report also notes that 16 delegations had not signed audit contracts in 2014, “however 74 audit contracts should have been signed … by these delegations.” As an example, the Central African Republic was shown to have not signed any contract two years in a row.
Projects of the European Development Fund (FED) seem to be the most problematic. Almost half of all the projects with implementation problems are financed by the FED.
Shaky projects at a critical time
Unquestionably, it is agreed on all political and administrative levels that the crises in Syria, Yemen, and other countries that lie within the scope of these projects are crucial for the long-term stability of the European Union and the world.
The amounts “at risk” in Morocco, Nigeria, Haiti, Congo, Ukraine, Zambia, and Burkina Faso exceed €4 billion — an amount which is not insignificant, or inconsequential.
Proponents of the projects could argue each Euro that achieves its target in these often very dangerous regions goes a longer way than in the European Union. Yet member states expect the European External Action Service and its delegations to monitor their projects. Furthermore, if projects are seen as failing year after year, it prompts the question of why the EU continues to invest in its failing initiatives.
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